Archive for November 15th, 2009

And now for my opinion…



Lionel Shriver gets the heave-ho

I may not have been physically present on Thursday but you can be assured I was there in spirit- wondering whether anyone would come, wishing I could be there too and extremely curious to see what you all made of A Perfectly Good Family. And, thankfully, my mind was put to rest very soon afterward; my spies inform me  that it was a fantastic meeting, with a fantastic turn out and brilliantly lead by the lovely Catriona. The only downside seems to have been the book itself- it sounds like it wasn’t a favourite, criticized in chief for being boring and repetitive. This makes it even more annoying that I missed the group; I feel like I’ve missed out on a great argument, as I was all set to defend it!  But luckily I have a WHOLE BLOG to argue my case- I think Shriver writes excellently, deceptively sparse yet razor sharp and incisive, about the awkward things that go on in out heads and within relationships which we might prefer to ignore. Her characters are incredibly well drawn too- I felt like I knew them all intimately (maybe too intimately in some cases!)- and that she’s not scared to make them unsympathetic to her readers. On the downside, I think sometimes she takes it too far- for me and there’s a cruel streak which runs through the writing which I find heavy going at times. I began to crave some generosity of spirit, a bit of acceptance of frailty and weakness. And, more prosaically, I also think the book DOES get pretty boring toward the end….


Onward to the next one then- to Joe Speedboat by Tommy Wierenga. This is the polar opposite and that “feel-good factor” you’re yearning for I think you could be in for a treat. This one’s a one to make you smile and feel full of the (fast-approaching) Christmas spirit of joy.  So get reading- you’ve only got three weeks to go until the next one! xx


About the group

Sunderland Book Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6pm at Holmeside Coffee in Sunderland.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit

November 2009
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