Shirley Marr's Reviews > Holier Than Thou

Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo
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May 26, 12

bookshelves: aussie-new-adult
Recommended to Shirley by: Reynje
Read in May, 2012

I believe that Holier Than Thou is the first "New Adult" novel I have read. And I am going to use the term "first" even though I've read a few books recently that tackle the "upper YA" bracket - that being Something in the World Called Love by Sue Saliba and Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick.

Although both these mentioned novels involved characters that are in the process of moving and/or have just moved out of home, they were either plot/story driven or highly metaphoric pieces focused on the theme of "growing up". Holier Than Thou is a book that actually gets down to the nitty-gritty of what it means to be "twenty-something". It peals away a convenient "central" storyline that would otherwise distract. It doesn't try and package this period of change in flowery language as something profound, but instead looks at the real cogs and wheels at work and presents this state of rawness to the reader.

This novel captures the essence of what it means to be a few years into a first "proper" job and even though you might love it, the drudgery of it all. What it means to be in a first proper live-in relationship and wondering if it will go through all the hackneyed motions to marriage and babies. And most beautifully - the way twenty-something years olds reflect on their high school days (because it hasn't been that long), comparing it to the way they live now and the fear of being caught in a stream that will take them all the way to adulthood with little or no choice.

I think this books fills a very important niche and Buzo has captured something that is universal to everyone. Buzo struck gold with Good Oil - examining what it feels like to want to grow up too fast, now she does it again - beautifully capturing the longing to break out of a stifling adult life.

I love the central character of Holly who is nicknamed "Holier Than Thou" (of the title) because she seems to be the only person willing to voice the moral high ground of her passionate inner-highschooler who still believes in following her dreams - whereas her other friends have fallen into convenient corporate lifestyles and become the people they said they would never be. She's a tough cookie, but I can totally see where she's coming from and I adore her! She's also an extremely accurate voice of a Aussie New Adult, I know lots of people that sound just like her!

I must warn you of the "extremely open" ending. Have you ever listened to a song and then it ends suddenly and you think maybe your music player has broken down but it hasn't because the song actually has ended? It's like that. But I have to say I LOVE this ending. I don't think a lot of people will agree with me, but I am left with this fluttering feeling of "she's going to go upstairs and I KNOW a whole new story is going to start at that point" and I don't need it spelled out. I love this open, lingering moment of possibilities.

In terms of negatives, I think the plot seam involving the boy-that-never-was had the potential to be the most powerful sub-theme (after all, who doesn't feel this the most keenly when it comes to high school/early adult regrets?) but it ended up the weakest. Liam, the boy-that-never-was being a character as exciting as a Tori-Amos-loving-wet-dishcloth. Holly's high school friends were also too thinly sketched to lend weight to Holly's sense of loss. The plot involving her dying father though, manages to tow this well over the line.

Overall, I think the writing is a little too pedestrian (the downfall of its blunt honesty) to be literary enough to be a keeper (only time will tell I guess?) but I believe this book hits the right note, for the right generation as of this moment. And for the time being that is enough.

...


If you want to read my predictions of what I think this book is about based purely on the cover... go here... ;-)

Hey - I'm pretty good! I got a few hits! The Mentalist eat your heart out.

Thanks to Reynje for my copy of Holier Than Thou complete with a GENUINE MELBOURNE COFFEE STAIN :D

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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Maree (new) - added it

Maree Awww I got my book from Rey in the mail today! She's a sweetie.


Reynje Melbourne has the best coffee, so it goes without saying that we also have the best coffee stains ;)


Shirley Marr Yeah, what did you get Maree? Does it come with something better than a GENUINE MELBOURNE COFFEE STAIN like say a GENUINE MELBOURNE KEBAB STAIN?

@ Rey - I bet this coffee stain will taste better than fresh perth coffee :P

@ Cills - NOICE!


message 4: by Tez (new)

Tez You know you're a hipster when... ;-)


Trinity I want a book from Rey *pouts*
(view spoiler)


Reynje Haha! BOOM.


message 7: by Maree (new) - added it

Maree I got Hunting Lila and no, no coffee stain or any other kind of stain lol. But a very pretty card! I might be sending a little thank you gift back... ;)


Reynje ::blush::


message 9: by Maree (new) - added it

Maree You totally do! :D


Shirley Marr Tez wrote: "You know you're a hipster when... ;-)"

... you receive a Polaroid and then you take a picture of it with your hipstergram :) :)


Reynje *lurking like a lurker*

I wonder if you will like this Shirley... I R curious, so I stalk..


Emily Yay, I'm glad you enjoyed this one Shirley! It is my fave read of 2012. Even though it's only May. :)

Totally agree with you about the ending! Loved it!


Shirley Marr Lol Emily! I made up my mind about my fave read of 2012 (Queen of The Night) months ago and it's still undefeated, so who knows hey? (not that I'm hoping the second half of 2012 is crap or anything)

Best ending of 2012 for me :)


Mands I really want to know what story starts once Holly goes upstairs, I would pay good money for that book. Great review, Shirls!


Reynje "I believe this book hits the right note, for the right generation as of this moment. And for the time being that is enough."

Well said, lady! Love this review :)


Shirley Marr Mandee, I would pay good money to see you write a fanfic for it :)

Thanks Rey:) I'd actually like to come back to all of this years books in 5 years time to see how well they still stack up. But in the meantime I got me eye on you (view spoiler) and (view spoiler)


Choco LOVED your review (more than the book)!!! That's exactly how I feel about the ending, Liam and the writing too. Thank you, Shirley :)


message 18: by Shirley (last edited May 27, 2012 07:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shirley Marr Thanks Choco - but totes no wayz! Are you going to write a review? I would love to hear your thoughts too xx


Reynje Shirley wrote: "Mandee, I would pay good money to see you write a fanfic for it :)

Thanks Rey:) I'd actually like to come back to all of this years books in 5 years time to see how well they still stack up. But i..."


Challenge accepted! ;)


Choco Shirley wrote: "Thanks Choco - but totes no wayz! Are you going to write a review? I would love to hear your thoughts too xx"

I don't think it's going to happen, Shirley.. I am extremely happy with yours out there :)


Shirley Marr *hugs Choco*


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