Nomanisan's Reviews > Crippen

Crippen by John Boyne
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Apr 24, 2008

did not like it
Recommended for: no one
Read in April, 2008

Oh, my lord, that's several hours of my life I'll never get back.
Boyne is a published author with several (4 +-) books published and a couple of nominations for awards (none won, I hasten to say), so obviously there ARE people out there who appreciate his writing. I'm NOT a published author, and therefore may have little standing to comment on the quality of this book (though given that I got it from a Dollar Tree for--obviously--$1, I'm betting that there are others out there who DON'T appreciate him). Nevertheless, herewith my evaluation:
First, the positive: the revelation is indeed a surprise which I didn't see coming (though I may have been in such a hurry to FINISH that I neglected early clues). There may be hints on the bookjacket of his twist on this novelization of an actual event , but I confess I didn't read the jacket beyond getting the information that the story is based on actual events.
That's that.
The man is a teacher of writing at some college in England, yet his grasp of correct usage slips (a kind evaluation) throughout the book. He loves certain phrases and words--I know this because of his frequent use of them: someone can't help but...do something; someone is "ageing"; "spittle" hangs from, comes from, or collects around various characters' mouths; someone puts his/her hand behind a partner's head (to caress, draw near, whatever--and it was very tender and effective the FIRST time). There are other examples, but you get my drift.
His grammar gets me, too; I'm enough of an anglophile to know that there are things the English use differently--but do they say someone SCOFFS a sandwich rather than SCARFS it? Does their grammatical construction treat the pronoun neither as plural when it is used to give a choice between two singular items? (Neither Hawley nor Cora WERE, neither Mrs. Drake nor Victoria HAVE....) When a word is the object of a preposition, do they use a nominative pronoun (between Victoria and I, for Victoria and I)? There are far more examples, but....
You get my drift; this is more of a rant than a review, I'm afraid. However, there's a difference between misusing language structure purposely for effect and with obvious intent, and doing it because one clearly knows no better. If Boyne had an editor, he/she did a miserable job; if he chose to edit this book himself, I would strongly urge him to use an editor the next time.
Oof.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Terry Tyler Scoffs is a commonly used English term.


Nomanisan To mean what we mean when we say "scarf"? Scoff is a perfectly good word, but it doesn't mean to wolf something down, unless the English have bastardized the word (and that's usually our province as Americans).


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Australians use the term "scoff" to wolf something down. We only use "scarf" to keep our necks warm.


Nomanisan Thanks for the clarification on the use of "scoff"; I stand corrected on that (having visited the UK about 14 times, I guess I was too secure in my understanding of their usage). This doesn't negate all those other criticisms, however.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa No not at all. I'm about to start reading Crippen. I loved 'This House is Haunted' so I hope I enjoy Crippen as well. Hope you've had better luck with books since this one!


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