Leah's Reviews > The LA Commandments

The LA Commandments by Gillian  Duffy
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's review
Aug 23, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: books-read-2011, ebooks, for-review
Read from August 23 to 27, 2011

Gillian Duffy’s debut novel only came to my attention when Gillian emailed us to as us if we’d like to review her book. I wasn’t sure it was my kind of novel so I took a look at the synopsis, liked what I saw and was pleased with the preview I got to read so I said I’d love to read it. I love books set in LA, it’s a place I really want to visit one day and I love reading other people’s interpretations about American states. I thought The LA Commandments was a very enjoyable read.

The LA Commandments was a very easy read, it took me about a week to read due to tiredness, but I looked forward to reading a bit more each night on my Kindle. The plot is fairly similar to lots I’ve read before: two girls, tired of their current life, head to a new country for adventure. In this case, Jo and Suzie are heading to LA for a year after losing their jobs in Dublin, knowing that there’ll be plenty of job opportunity’s in LA that there are in Ireland. They plan to travel around California but when they find a nice job – Jo in a bar, Suzie in a shop – as well as a nice place to stay and two men they really like, all bets are off for their travelling plans. In a way, I was disappointed the novel only took place in LA, with only small visits to other Californian areas, but the plot kept me hooked anyway.

The book wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough. I would have liked the Commandments to have been a bit more prominent as the only Commandment I heard of that the girl’s had decided on was “Thou shalt not fall in love” and it did sometimes read a bit hard, with the constant “muttering” and “mumbling” the characters did (they spent most of their time muttering and mumbling. Honestly, it’s so rude to mumble and mutter!). But I liked reading the book and I thought the girls’ Californian lives were lovely. I loved Jo’s burgeoning relationship with Marc and I loved Suzie, she was a brilliant character and it was interesting to see her navigate the dating waters, too! I desperately wanted to hotfoot it to LA to go to O’Sullivan’s. (I know, it’s fictional, but it sounded like such a lovely pub to while away the days).

I very much enjoyed the characters. Jo and Suzie were excellent characters, I wanted to join their holiday and be part of their LA lives. I thought all their LA friends they make were also really good characters: Marc, Mya, Paul, they were all characters I cared about and wanted to know more about. I thought the characters were a nice mix and I also liked Jo’s family, whom we meet at one point in the novel. It was nice to see Jo back in Dublin for a little while during the book. The only character I really didn’t like was Chris, and the less said about him the better. But overall most of the characters were lovely and I enjoyed getting to know them!

The ending of The LA Commandments stunned me. There I was, lying in bed, happily reading away as I got nearer the end of the novel as midnight came and went and I literally gasped when I got to the end of the book! I don’t want to spoil what happens, and I won’t, but the ending did surprise me and will surprise many who read the book. It didn’t annoy me, which was a surprise. I felt it was a very realistic, very proper ending. It was very unexpected but I applaud Duffy for going down that route. I really enjoyed The LA Commandments, not a perfect novel, but I really liked reading it and very much looked forward to returning to it each evening. I’d definitely recommend picking this up, and I’m very pleased I decided to take the chance and give it a read, Jo and Suzie’s stories and lives were hugely enjoyable and the secondary characters were just as enjoyable.
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