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There but for the
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Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 437 comments This book is full of word play and puns, which I have a hard time enjoying. Folks who really enjoy word play should love this one. The story follows a very clever little girl named Brooke, who is a bit of a nuisance, mostly because she asks a lot of questions and makes awkward observations and comments all the time. She has no clue really how irritating she is, and despite being so smart her parents deal with somewhat frequent complaints from her teachers. The book is also about a man who shows up at a house as a houseguest, shuts himself into a guest bedroom, and refuses to leave. Underlying the story is a theme of things that are implied but never said, like the word 'the' when it is left out in titles or colloquial speech. If you like Kafka and Lewis Carroll, and Alexander McCall Smith, you might enjoy this book.
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads. It was funny, and an easy read, even if the kid was awfully irritating.

Kristel (kristelh) | 3876 comments Mod
Read in 2016. I liked much about the book yet I think it was awkward or lacking and could of used some work. Liked Brooke and May as characters. A story centered around people whose lives touched Miles in some way. Miles is an unknown guest of a dinner party. Toward the end of the dinner he locks himself in a spare bedroom. Each of the four sections are taken from the title There and but and for and the and presents a different perspective that together tell us about Miles.

Diane Zwang | 1205 comments Mod
Also read in 2016.
2 stars

What I disliked about the dinner party was when the guests spoke about the other guests behind their back. Mark was spoken of negatively and I thought that was quite rude. I disliked the Lee's and most people that attended the dinner party. And I also realized that the book was not about Miles. It was not wrapped up tightly and the ending was a bit of a disappointment for me. It was very tedious for me to read and I spent nearly 2 weeks getting it finished. I don't know if I missed the point of the book or I was just a distracted reader due to family celebrations. I am looking forward to starting a new book and putting this one behind me.

Amanda Dawn | 932 comments I gave this one 3 stars. This is something like the third or fourth Ali Smith that I’ve read, and I always seem to feel like the idea of the books and their promise is always greater than the texts themselves. I don’t know: there’s something about her work that always makes me feel like “I get it, but this could have been better”.

There were points where I enjoyed Brooke’s story and character and the factoids she spouted, but it was also a little grating at times. I get that that’s part of it, but it’s not the best “precocious child/overachieving family” bit I’ve read (I mean it wasn’t the worst either- looking at you “Where’d you go Bernadette?”). I think the idea of “Milo’s” cult of personality was also interesting and had some good points about how people create mythology to suit their needs from nothing, but I also think it didn’t develop his motivations for the lock-in or the mania around it in a way that was as deep or engaging as it could have been.

The structure was somewhat novel and cool as well, but I just feel like there could have been more to this book. It was fine.

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