Ryan's Reviews > The Beach

The Beach by Alex Garland
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's review
May 04, 2007

really liked it

I basically devoured this book. Started on Friday, finished by Monday. Part of it has to do with the way the book is written (short, three to four page vignettes that make it easy to say, "Oh I'll just read one more") but a larger part has to do with the momentum of the story. it doesn't really ever let up. i was never bored reading this book in fact I almost compulsively needed to know what would happen next. The whole thing kind of plays out like a really well-done summer popcorn movie.

Two devices I particularly enjoyed were the passage of time (which pretty much flies by for us and the characters in such a way that you don't even notice it is) and the way Garland gives the reader small breaks from the island by delving into memories of sweet childhood. Very nicely done.

Some criticism: the only thing about this book that really made me groan was pretty much everything involving *ahem* Daffy Duck. Dream sequences, hallucinations, awareness of hallucinations. It all felt too contrived and horrifically self-aware for me. And then, once he's off the island, no more craziness. Too there's-something-funny-about-that-island for my taste.

On the back cover of this edition Nick Hornby(!) called it a "Lord of the Flies for Generation X." Generation X schma aside, this book is a great update of Golding's classic and well worth the weekend (or long plane ride) of non-stop reading you're bound to spend with it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
May 4, 2007 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Shannon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shannon Great review! I agree, and I devoured the book as well. And re-read it several times. I liked Daffy Duck though. I mean, he scared the hell out of me but I thought it was clever, if not a bit violent and surreal. On an unrelated note, have you seen the movie? I haven't, I'm too afraid it will ruin the glorious-ness of the book.

Rachel I'm halfway through at the moment and I agree, I can't stop reading it. I meant to read just the first chapter before bed last night but i ended up reading til 4am(oops)
Good review :)

Stephanie Your review made me smile...I was doing that last night..."Just one more section, just one more section."

Edienna Totally agree with you about the Daffy parts. I honestly considered skipping them,it didn't bring anything more to the story for me, it just weighed it down. One hell of a read though : )

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Loved the book didn't move off , ironically the beach , untill i finished it. And when i got home ordered the film immediatly because it has been described as a modern classic etc. Completley and utterly dissapointed in it, they haven't even attempted to be true to the novel particularly the end where everyone sails away happy as larry! And leonardo di caprio bonks everyone in sight. A good film IF watch as seperate from the book.

Jade Couldn't have said it better myself! :)

Cassie I definately agree with this review. I loved the book - read it after visiting Thailand and seeing the Green Lagoon it's based in, but didn't like the Daffy Duck character. It's written in a style I like and you just want to keep reading to know what happens next. I watched the film after reading the book and it was a bit of a disappointment as they have changed some of the good bits in the story. For one the main character is British and NOT American and where the characters come from is the only thing that really connects them from their life outside the beach. So definately read it, just don't expect the film to be just as good.

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