Laurie Saunders's Reviews > Any Human Heart

Any Human Heart by William Boyd
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Sep 09, 11

Read in March, 2011

This is one of the books I had as part of my literary spa treatment my hubbie organised secretly because my bridesmaid was that good. The main reason that I picked this book was because the narrator is a writer. What's more, the blurb at the back presented him as a flawed, failing writer and rather mediocre family man. I felt some kinship there, indeed. I started reading this book when I was pregnant but gave up about a third in as it had become too depressing for me to carry on. A lot of that had to do with my hormones, I think. The protagonist is a crappy dad to one of his children and a very good one to the other. I think that probably scared me somewhere, the idea that you can get it wrong with your kids, like half of the time. Logan (the diarist/protagonist) is irritating to begin with: a young priviledge and gifted young man who underperforms because he's a bit of a twat. As he gets older and life teaches him a whole lot of things, I warmed to him a little bit but he remained a rather unpleasant person deep down. I think Boyd manages to achieve what he set up to do: he portrays a character who is totally human. He's not a hero, he's flawed and he's like us. I liked the end of the book because Logan seems to find some sort of peace, although it's more of a compromise with life. I picked the book again after my baby was born and I managed to read it from front to back this time. I felt the same slump and downswing as the first time, but this time I was able to identify it as a literary device rather than something to do with me. Not a book I'll read again but one that was worth reading, if only to see how despicable characters are built.
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