Sweet Tooth Sweet Tooth question


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Marmite ending? Did you love it or hate it?
Helen Helen Sep 03, 2012 07:45AM
I actually loved it very much indeed, but I have seen that's not a unanimous response. What did you think? Did you like it or did it spoil the book for you?



I hate a book that ends by negating the entire previous story. There's no pleasure feeling I've been fooled by the author, who couldn't figure out a more satisfying ending.


I enjoyed the book (only slightly marred by a little too much research on display) and loved the ending. As others have already said, it made me question what I'd just read. It left me with lots of tantalizing questions about Tom and Serena's past 40 years. I like to think that novel is the joint work of Tom and Serena, who eventually found happiness together.


Was a good book, mediocre by McEwans standards, possibly, a lot of filler in there I thought. Ending I thought was good actually, maybe predictable yes, but I wasn't let down. Solid 3/5 from myself.


It was a great ending in my opinion, didn't see it coming. Enjoyed the book, just another example of how we are manipulated by the 'powers that be'. 'Saturday' is still my favourite McEwan book.


McEwan's writing is always beautiful, and that really saved the book in it's more boring sections. There were parts in the book that were tedious to get through, the MI5 meeting being chief among them. The ending for me actually made me laugh out loud because it took me so much by surprise. It actually made me like the book more than I would have I think. Overall, surely not his best work, but a solid 3/5 for me.


Gerhard (last edited Jun 08, 2013 01:10PM ) Jun 08, 2013 01:09PM   1 vote
It is interesting that so many people have commented on the 'filler elements', the MI5 and sociopolitical stuff about England in that time, as being boring ... I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, a window on an almost different world, but one as obsessed with its own obsolescence as our modern world is. I thought this gelled well with all the 'writerly' stuff about authors as a social force for good. And I loved the ending. Hugely enjoyable book, consummately written.


I found the ending to be quite devastating for Serena. Throughout the novel she makes no choices for herself (her education is chosen by her mother, her career by a lover), but the very fact that she is telling her story makes it seem like somehow she takes control of her life enough to tell her own story. At the end we find out that she's not even telling her own story? It was a good ending in that it made me think about the larger themes of the novel, but I thought it was a sad ending for the main character.


Much doubt while reading this book as it did not fit into the McEwan mould, but above all it was a racy and an enjoyable experience - didn't compute.

Using the McEwen yardstick, thought it was muddling to mediocre


McEwan used a similar device in an earlier novel (you know which one) so I was surprised to see it again. He also raids his own bibliography for Tom's stories. Maybe he's trying to say something about writing and self-plagiarism.

Sorry for digressing. I really liked Sweet Tooth and Ian McEwan is still my favorite writer.


I did not care for Chesil Beach either, but I did like Sweet Tooth. Saturday is still my favorite and I am a huge Ian McEwan fan


Really thought I was going to love this book as the beginning grabbed me. However as the book progressed I found myself skimming parts, especially the group meetings that employees of M15 were required to attend. They were so boring . Last 20 pages , the book picked up some steam again.

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Melody I think I ended up putting the book away after the first "group meeting". I just didn't care for it.
Jun 09, 2013 08:30AM
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Nadine I never finished it myself.
Feb 11, 2014 04:55PM

My feeling is that Tom Haley isn't a very good novelist and writing as Tom felt like an excuse for McEwan to write a substandard book (a bit like those authors who have autistic protagonists and write in the first person to get away with simple prose). An unexpected ending, even if it is quite clever, doesn't make up for a dull book. If this had been written by a first time writer, I don't think it would have been published. My real irritation with the 'twist' is that it is the same device McEwan used in Atonement, ie a character turning out to be the author, and that felt so lazy that I don't think I'll ever be able to give McEwan the benefit of the doubt again.


I read Sweet Tooth with some trepidation as I loved Atonement but detested On Chesil Beach, so much so that it's taken me several years to try another Ian McEwan novel. I have to say that I enjoyed the story and was pleasantly satisfied with the ending. I may be prepared to try another one now


I actually thought that the ending was more than a little twist and that McEwan left some questions unresolved. For example, did Serena actually read Tom's narrative or was it left on the kitchen table unread? Were she and Max actually lovers, something that Tom was told but could not accept or put into his story? Was Serena actually more sympathetic than portrayed in Tom's story as he was colored by her betrayal? Did they end up married and corroborate on the eventual publication of the book


After reading Attonement, which was a well written and enjoyable book, I was extremely disappointed with Sweet Tooth. I found the characters unbelievable and had no empathy for any of them. I felt the ending far too drawn out. I didn't anticipant Tom's rambling on and on at the end. I wanted to yell at him "get to the point and then shut the fuck up."


Warren (last edited Nov 04, 2012 12:21PM ) Nov 04, 2012 12:21PM   0 votes
They way the story was unfolding, I couldnt see the book having a great or profound ending ; so all in all I thought although it was a little weak - it was as good an ending as could be expected.


I thought the book was quite weak until towards the end. McEwan's conclusion turned my concept of myself as reader upside down: masterful.


The end is the only redemption. I read steadily, but without any enjoyment. At some point I decided that I'd prefer to read Tom's The Levels than Sweet Tooth ... so obviously, the ending pleased me. Yes I was duped. Yes I liked being duped. I just wish it hadn't taken so damn and dully long.


The ending was probably the best part of the book to me. A lot of it was, quite honestly, boring to me, because I don't particularly care for the politics so I think I zoned out until I got to the interesting parts.


The book is quite good, but I was expecting another ending and I was a bit perplexed to see that the author used the narrative technique of a former book, which by the way is far better and much more compelling. “Saturday” is still my favourite McEwan book.


I loved the ending. I thought of Tom as a rather pathetic character (was actually anticipating that he committed suicide) and in the final 10 pages I had to rethink both what I thought of him as well as what I thought about what I had read to that point. Love it when a book surprises me and kicks me in the butt - mainly because it does not happen often.


I did not like the Serena character at all -- way to self-centered. I especially did not like that she was ready to blow Tom off to keep her job instead of resigning. I was surprised by the ending, as I did think Tom had offed himself and she would find him. Do not understand the shoes - that was just plan misleading. I'm not a big fan of McEwan. I did not like Atonement at all. Saturday was okay. Sweet Tooth was interesting enough, even if there was nothing to clue the reader in to the ending that was coming.


I liked the end very much. Ian McEwan is such a brilliant writer. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone (I hate recommending books) - it's not a sensational or gripping read - but I liked the characters and I cared about what happened to them.


I was waiting and waiting for the fantastic McEwan ending, with a twist. Yes, there was a twist...but a very pedestrian one. Or did I miss something?


I interpreted the ending as showing that the point of view portrayed in the novel was Tom's. Everything that had come before was Tom's idea of what Serena was thinking and feeling. It explained for me some odd moments where Serena would suddenly get pre-occupied with where her hair dryer was or some other ephemera - all Tom's idea of female preoccupations. Very clever, and very revealing - about Tom, not Serena.


I think it's the ending that makes this book work. I found the plot rather mediocre until the final chapter. The ending made me reconsider the whole thing and left me with a good feeling after a disappointing story.


I really had to think hard to remember what the ending was, and I only finished it last week....but now I do remember, I quite liked the ending, it was ok as endings go ( they are very, very difficult to write in my experience). I also thought there was a lot of filler in this novel, there to show off his research, in my opinion, and a lot of the political stuff about Ted Heath I had recently read in Dominic Sandbrook's history of the early 70s so it didn't seem fresh


Loved the ending. Very positive ending. The best possible ending.


I agree with Dierdre; the ending saved the book for me. It made me assume that she did indeed read the manuscript, married Tom, and they published it together, which is why we have it in our hands; clever fictional breaching of the barrier between fiction and reality.


I really loved it, but I rather like the playful self indulgent device. It worked better than, say, Coe's Terrible privacy of Maxwell Sim.


I find the ending dazzling. Such a great book!


I loved the ending. It made me revise everything that had gone before. You're left in doubt about whose perspective the book is written from. I have to say the ending saved the book for me. Certainly not one of his best, though. Took me some time to get into.


I liked the ending. A tiny little twist, but not a big deal.


i liked the twist at the end.I really love the book.


I loved the book and loved the ending.


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