Rebecca's Reviews > Ordinary People

Ordinary People by Diana Evans
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really liked it
bookshelves: public-library

This reminded me a fair bit of On Beauty by Zadie Smith – high praise as that’s one of my favorite novels of the last 15 years. It focuses on two Black couples in South London and the suburbs who, in the wake of Obama’s first election, are reassessing their relationships. Their problems are familiar middle-class ones – how to balance career and family, especially for Melissa, with a new baby; how romances fade over time; and how the grass always looks greener in somebody else’s garden – but Evans captures them so candidly that many passages made me wince. It’s all too easy to lose sight of who you are and what you want, or to stop appreciating who and what you have in your life. “She no longer put kisses on the ends of her texts or emails during the day. Now it was only, ‘Can you pop to Lidl on way hm, chick thighs, pots, tissues, milk’, or, ‘Bog roll pls’.”

I had a little bit of trouble keeping the central couples straight, at least until they all go on holiday to Spain together. Chapter 13, in which two of the characters experience some mental instability, possibly a combination of depression and a ghostly influence, is a standout. The Black slang and references to pop music are a nice touch, though I could see them alienating some readers.

(This is now on the Women’s Prize and Rathbones Folio Prize shortlists.)
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Reading Progress

March 15, 2019 – Started Reading
March 15, 2019 – Shelved
March 15, 2019 – Shelved as: public-library
March 31, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Cheri Terrific review, Rebecca!

Rebecca Cheri wrote: "Terrific review, Rebecca!"

Thanks for saying that! I know you didn't enjoy this book as much.

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