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Book Discussions > The Slap **Spoilers**

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message 1: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments Bob and I have both recently read The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and have been exchanging a few comments about it. Since we're not the only ones to have read this book, Bob suggested we set up a discussion thread to continue our characater assassination, I mean discussion where others can also chip in!

I will look forward to this chat, but have to leave it here for now as it's gone 1am, I hope the kids lie in a bit tomorrow!


message 2: by Louise (new)

Louise | 1102 comments I think I have commentedon this somewhere.

For me, not a single likeable character in the whole book....

such a brilliant idea for a book though, you'd be fairly shocked to see a parent slap their child in this day and age, so for someone else to slap a child is a real can of worms.


message 3: by Gemma (new)

Gemma (gemmagem20) | 26 comments The concept of this book was brilliant, and I really looked forward to reading it.
But, I hated it. Did not like any characters, didn't really like the stories of each character.
A lot of it, not really relevant to 'the slap'.
I really struggled, and gave up half way through, very disappointed. Would like to hear other peoples thoughts on this too. I have noticed that this has been released as a series..maybe that is better?


message 4: by Louise (new)

Louise | 1102 comments I watched the first episode to see if the characters were anymore sympathetic... it was well cast, and nicely done......
but couldnt bring myself to watch more than one episode, so not sure it was that good....


message 5: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments It's interesting Gemma, that you liked the concept but then hated the book because I've noticed that quite a few of my friends have been the opposite. They don't like the sound of the book because of the title and blurb, I think the premise of the book actually puts them off as they form certain conclusions about what the book will be. The expectation is that it's going to be all about the slap when in fact that just a catalyst for a whole range of other themes.


message 6: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments Louise wrote: "I watched the first episode to see if the characters were anymore sympathetic... it was well cast, and nicely done......
but couldnt bring myself to watch more than one episode, so not sure it was ..."


I missed the TV series, it did get good reviews and I am admitedly a fan of the book but I'm sure it wasn't comfortable viewing.


message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert (bobhe) | 785 comments sorry to come in late on this
This is the first book I have read since joining goodreads that I really feel could discuss at any length
I had so many changes of opinion as I read the book
1, first book read that goes through in 6 independent character chapters.I liked this but as Gemma said quite a lot not relevant unless you look in the context that they would not react if had not experienced the afternoon ie Connie and Hector not breaking up which led to the rape being made up?
2, The breast feeding by Rosie I feel not acceptable at that age. Seen very occasionally people breast feeding that age child in public Yuk! Hasten to add that no objection to breast feeding of babies in public.
3, Not convinced at the amount of drug use by all ages
4, So unsure about The actual slap
a,If other persons child slap who behaved like Hugo would prob feel deserved
b, Someone ELSE slapped my child at that age prob be me in court for more than slapping him
BUT constant thought that to go to court case out of all proportion and I KNOW that could happen

cant wait to read other opinions and trust me can be swayed on my point of view
Waffle or what and now feel that must change to 5 stars as made me thing about it so much


message 8: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments The way your perspective is altered or even changed totally as you find yourself in the mind of each different character is one of the things that I most admired about the book.

With regards to "The Slap": Initially I felt Hugo deserved to be disciplined (not necessarily hit.) Since his own parents were failing to do so I can understand that someone could be driven to slap someone elses child. Then, I find myself in Harry's head and I suppose the fact he is abusive and a bully doesn't make him any more wrong or right but it made me feel differently about his actions.

Ha! Bob, you thought you could waffle...


message 9: by Gemma (new)

Gemma (gemmagem20) | 26 comments Robert point 2, The breast feeding by Rosie I feel not acceptable at that age. Seen very occasionally people breast feeding that age child in public Yuk! Hasten to add that no objection to breast feeding of babies in public.

I agree with this point, I found this quite disturbing.

I also agree with the drug use, I felt that was a bit too much.

Em, I liked the concept, not because a child gets slapped as such, but it was quite controversial which I thought would make for a brilliant read. I just felt, the stories were a bit too much sometimes, and did not sympathise with any characters as they were all really unpleasant.


message 10: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments No, they were not an especially sympathetic bunch, they were out and out unpleasant and dislikeable for much of the story but there were glimmers, details about their upbringing or what have you that I guess you could say did make me feel a little sympathy for them. (Just a little!)

For example, Rosies childhood and adolescence means she is damaged, she feels worthless, out of her depth in life and kind of rootless, even her friends don't know what she really is. I think it goes some way to explaining her. The truth is I did feel sad for her when Bilal rejects her, telling her she's rotten and to stay away from his family. She believes him totally, the woman has no self esteem and I feel bad that she spends every minute of her life with those feelings at her heart.


message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert (bobhe) | 785 comments What about Aisha? Control freak?


message 12: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments But her husband is effectively a third child, who else would take control?

I must admit "control freak" didn't occur to me whilst reading, why do you feel that she was?

When it comes to Aisha, hmmmm.... it seemed to me she based her marriage to Hector on how good they looked together which is shallow to say the least, in that context it's a small wonder that they each have affairs. She doesn't seem to be someone who is very empathetic with other people, she struck me as quite simply bewildered by Hectors break-down on holiday and really relatively unaware of the suffering of her friends (or was she aware that these issues were better avoided?)


message 13: by Robert (new)

Robert (bobhe) | 785 comments I just thought that when Hectors father,who seemed the most likable of all, came to her to go to the party. she just seemed to enjoy his discomfort
I forgot about Hectors breakdown but if she had not had the one night stand just the week before she would have acted differently.
Still cant get my head around the amount of drug taking by all of them. I am not sure if I am just different as not university educated and always been into sport but never experienced drugs with any friends


message 14: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments Yes, there was a lot of recreational drug taking, I did go to university in London and there were a fair amount of drugs about. Perhaps more within certain circles than others and it wasn't really my scene. The teenagers party, didn't seem that surprising to me, except that they were school age rather than uni - a little bit young for them all to be so comfortable with such an array of substances?!

As for the adults - it's nothing like I've ever experienced either.

Manolis did strike me as a mild gentleman, quite sweet really when I saw him through Hectors eyes at the outset but, I was quite suprised by the inner angst, anger even - all that turmoil going on beneath the surface.

With regards to that interaction about the party, there was more going on wasn't there? Aisha knew Harry beat his wife up, she saw his slapping of Hugo through the filter of that prior knowledge and I think it was her way of of taking a stand against him. I think she would have felt strongly about that and maybe a bit helpless too.


message 15: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments What did you think of some of the characters whose voice we didn't get to hear - Hectors Mum, Connies Aunt, Mum and Dad, Richies Mum and Hugos' Dad? Did any of them strike you?


message 16: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 3398 comments Mod
Em wrote: "Yes, there was a lot of recreational drug taking, I did go to university in London and there were a fair amount of drugs about. Perhaps more within certain circles than others and it wasn't really..."

The extensive drug use surprised me - was it Harry that had a bong in the afternoon, with his kid hanging around? And the casual statement of Richie 'injecting for the first time', left me feeling very uncomfortable (as I'm sure it was intended to).

I think that was the main problem for me with this book, I just saw the strings too much - rather than being consumed by the book, I was too aware of the manipulations of the author. It was a clever book that made you think about a wide variety of subjects relating to identity, family, etc, but I found it too self-concious.

It was a good choice for my Singapore bookclub though - we had a lot to discuss!


message 17: by Robert (new)

Robert (bobhe) | 785 comments Em wrote: "What did you think of some of the characters whose voice we didn't get to hear - Hectors Mum, Connies Aunt, Mum and Dad, Richies Mum and Hugos' Dad? Did any of them strike you?"
Hectors Mum is probably as overprotective of her children as rosie in her own way. Really not a nice person and racist in a few ways.
Connie,s aunt comes out quite well. We all say that would take in family if equired but few have to do it, esspeciallly when moved so far away

I think that Liz made a good point that book tries to hard, with every issue thrown in somewhere along the line
Aids, Racism,drugs, under age sex, adultery, rape, promiscurity, homosexuality list goes and may have been a better book for taking less issues


message 18: by Em (new)

Em (emmap) | 2929 comments It was our book group read as well - it is a book to stimulate discussion which makes it a pretty good choice, regardless of liking or loathing it.

What did you think of the ending, where they storm the vets to confront Aisha?


message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert (bobhe) | 785 comments Em wrote: "It was our book group read as well - it is a book to stimulate discussion which makes it a pretty good choice, regardless of liking or loathing it.

What did you think of the ending, where they s..."


I think the way Gary and rosie dealt with everything,rush in and to hell with the consequences. It was so selfish if connie had been raped then would have destroyed her. The time should have gone to authorities rather than with The Slap should have been to protect Connie.
Just to say must have been a good book as still so clear in my mind


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The Slap (other topics)

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Christos Tsiolkas (other topics)