Lindsay's Reviews > Gentlemen and Players

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris
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's review
Sep 15, 2008

really liked it
Read in September, 2008

"Gentlemen and Players" may not be the best known of Joanne Harris's works, "Chocolat" undoubtedly holds that title, but this novel is a riveting story worthy of praise for its intelligence and ingenuity. Centered around the public (private for those of us in the US) St. Oswald's grammar school for boys where things begin to go terribly wrong - and we are not talking paper airplanes and spit balls disorder, more like school for scandal.

As the school, and surrounding town, attempt to come to grips with the institution's unraveling, Harris weaves a set of plot twists that will have you flipping through the novel's pages trying to understand what you missed. This is a story of strategy and cunning shrouded in mystery and secrecy, which helps make up for several rather repetitive descriptions.

Although satisfying, this novel is also disconcerting not only because of its subject matter, but also because Harris challenges readers to accept that not everything in life works out neatly according to the rules (no matter how badly we desire it). This novel will make you think and feel, which is truly something wonderful. Harris herself dedicated over a decade to teaching in the British school system and her devotion comes through clearly in every chapter, not to mention a lovely essay reflecting on her teaching career in the P.S. edition.

One word of caution to readers before diving unreserved into this novel piece of literature - this is a story involving children and not everything that happens is good. If you are bothered by this type of thing, it might not be the choice for you. Do not let this caution put you off entirely, but it was not something I was prepared for when I began reading.
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Comments (showing 1-3)

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Elaine How would you rate this book? PG? PG-13? R? What ages would you suggest it to?

Lindsay I would probably rate it as PG13 - about on par with an episode of "Law and Order." High school students and above would likely find the greatest enjoyment from this book as younger audiences might find the subject matter and nuances a bit boring. I hope this helps!

message 1: by Elaine (last edited Apr 28, 2009 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Elaine Yes, thank you! I think I will give it a try. I don't know about you, but I wish books had ratings and told why just like movies and TV shows. It would be so much easier to weed out the good ones, or at least not be surprised at what you find in them. Thanks! =D

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