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Book giveaway: The Confusion of Karen Carpenter by Jonathan Harvey - apply for a free copy and join the discussion (CLOSED)

(48 Posts)
RebeccaSMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-Oct-13 11:58:48

We're giving away 50 copies of The Confusion of Karen Carpenter, a novel of joyful, riotous comedy by the award-winning playwright of Beautiful Thing and Coronation Street scriptwriter, Jonathan Harvey.

Having the same name as a '70s pop icon is just the start of Karen Carpenter's problems. After being dumped by her longstanding boyfriend (via a letter sellotaped to the kettle), the close and sympathetic scrutiny of her colleagues and her infuriating mum is becoming too much to bear.

Not one to mope around, Karen decides that the best way to get over her ex is to pick herself up and get back out there on the dating scene – which is not that easy after a relationship of 11 years.

Apply for a free copy and if you are one of the lucky 50, do come back to this thread to post your feedback and discuss the book.

aristocat Thu 17-Oct-13 16:04:11

Thank you for Gimme Gimme Gimme, it is one of the best TV shows ever! I hope I enjoy your book as much smile

directoroflegacy Sat 19-Oct-13 18:57:14

Hi, think I can relate to KC a bit, was once dumped on Valentines Day via a post it!

LegoCaltrops Sat 19-Oct-13 19:10:19

That's awful, Director! shock

I hope I get this one. I go through reading material faster than my budget will allow, & we've only got a small local library.

ShabbyButNotChic Tue 22-Oct-13 09:06:06

Ooh hope i get picked! Had this on my amazon wishlist for a while smile

RebeccaSMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 10:30:15

The book giveaway is now closed. We'll email the 50 people who have been selected to receive books as soon as we hear from the publishers that they have been sent out.

Oneforthemummy Wed 30-Oct-13 20:52:07

Received my copy today...looking forward to settling down with it later!

UniS Wed 30-Oct-13 21:55:45

Thank you, book has arrived and is on the stack to be read, going away for the weekend so I might get it started.

CaptainSweatPants Thu 31-Oct-13 21:30:32

2 chapters in & so far so good

Kind of surprised it's written by a bloke, seems a bit chick lit & from cover thought a woman had written it

He's got a great insight into a female character

NoWomanNoCry Thu 31-Oct-13 21:39:44

Thank you for my free copy, definitely looking forward to reading this. Will post a review when finished.

DuchessofMalfi Sat 02-Nov-13 09:31:02

Thank you for my copy. Hoping to get started shortly once I've finished my current book smile

gailforce1 Sat 02-Nov-13 16:10:09

My copy has just arrived - thank you. Looking forward to curling up with this on a dark, wet evening!

WillieWaggledagger Sat 02-Nov-13 19:14:23

received the book on thursday - thank you! i've just finished it

it's an easy, quick read, though i found the tone a bit irritating at first, but actually it became clear later on that that was almost certainly deliberate on the part of the author as it reflected the character's state of mind and circumstances

there are lots of genuinely amusing and genuinely sad bits

the 'reveal' (for want of a better word) was fairly clearly signalled i thought, and i had worked out what had happened within a couple of chapters, but that didn't spoil the enjoyment of reading how it played out by any means

the supporting characters are entertaining though perhaps not terribly believable if i'm honest, but it's difficult to say whether that's because it's written in the first person and she is going through a traumatic period in her life. however, they were amusing in any case

i don't want to post too much before other people have read it as i don't want to spoil anything. the only thing i would say is that unless i have read things wrong, there are two fairly significant copyediting errors - one being the blurb on the back (and in the OP here) that the relationship was eleven years (in the first chapter she says it is nearly twenty years), and the other being on page 275 where i think the year should be 2011 rather than 2012 (don't want to go into any more detail). this may be me reading things incorrectly, but both these things confused me and took me out of the story

WillieWaggledagger Sat 02-Nov-13 19:17:45

overall i thought it was an accessible and funny account of how people might deal with traumatic experiences, with overarching themes about lying to oneself and others

CaptainSweatPants Sun 03-Nov-13 10:30:17

Just finished it
Completely agree with everything willie said
I think it's a great light hearted read, I got a bit bored half way through but I'm glad I kept reading
Thinking of buying a copy for my sisters Xmas present

SterlingCooperDraperPryce Sun 03-Nov-13 15:51:34

Thanks for this. Am a few chapters in and agree with another poster, it's a bit chick litty. I'm finding the main character fairly irritating if im honest but maybe all will become clear soon. I'm not finding it a page turner at the moment.....

SterlingCooperDraperPryce Sun 03-Nov-13 15:52:27

Also id she's thst bothered about her name, why not just change it be deed poll?

Loveitall Sun 03-Nov-13 16:36:41

Received the book and am looking forward to reading it.

DuchessofMalfi Sun 03-Nov-13 22:41:49

Started reading it this evening. 50 pages in so far and am enjoying it. Looking forward to reading on, tomorrow smile

Oneforthemummy Mon 04-Nov-13 14:50:12

I finished 'The Confusion...' this morning - it is a quick, easy read and absolutely a chick-lit novel. I always struggle a bit with male authors writing female protagonists (and vice versa) - I can't help thinking 'pah! that's not really something a woman would say/do/feel' much more often than I do when reading a female author writing about a female protagonist. I am sure this is all in my head and I would be utterly fooled by a pseudonym, but I do find it distracting. There were also a number of storylines and characters that I ultimately found pretty pointless (Meredith & Ethleen? The whole Karen Carpenter thing?) and much was skimmed over (Kevin, Mum & Dad) - probably because there was too much there in the first place.

I did enjoy this book, although I also noticed a few irritating mistakes (like Willie did) - in particular the spelling of 'pegunda' and 'pagunda' (around which a whole joke was based). It was much more 'chick lit' than I was expecting and I struggled with the protagonist being (more or less) my age as I found I was constantly comparing and just felt she came across as a much younger person.

My overall impression was that this would be much better as a TV series (perhaps partly because I know the author is a tv writer). Much of the humour was physical and I felt sometimes the author was having to explain things that wouldn't need explanation if the medium was visual.

I don't want to give anything away about the book so have to tread carefully, but I did find the comic/serious elements detracted from each other - it was hard to find it funny once you knew the underlying serious storyline and I felt like the serious storyline was undermined by the comedy. A very fine balance to strike, and I am not sure this novel did it particularly well; having said that I was more moved by the serious storyline than I was amused by the comedy.

So, it's a fun, easy read, but I get the feeling I will have forgotten it very quickly sad

CaptainSweatPants Mon 04-Nov-13 17:46:27

I agree the humour was a bit ott at times

I didn't guess the big reveal either & felt a bit blush because looking back it was pretty obvious

Oneforthemummy Mon 04-Nov-13 18:11:57

Don't worry Captain - I didn't guess the reveal and although it did seem obvious looking back, I didn't think it was particularly plausible. There didn't seem to be any hint of tragedy behind her crazy behaviour, but maybe that says more about my lack of understanding than the writing?

Loveitall Tue 05-Nov-13 06:48:41

I'm only a few pages in at the mo. First thoughts were that some chick lit books (of which I am a huge fan) draw me in instantly and I can't put the book down, so far, this isn't one of them. I will be interested to see when i am drawn into the book.

NoWomanNoCry Tue 05-Nov-13 12:52:11

Just an update, I am a third of the way through this book and I am enjoying this at the moment. A funny read! smile

wetaugust Thu 07-Nov-13 00:30:18

I'm about half way through the book.

It's written in a chatty, matter of fact manner that made it easy to get into. I found it a bit too chick-litty. There are some musings that I've seen on MN, so perhaps the author has visied us?

So far it reminds me of a sort of Bridget Jones' with a 'To Do List' - must find a new bloke, must get laid etc.

I'm finding its style very meandering and introverted. Also noticed the pag/pegunda error. I think it will date quite quickly as it's full of contemporary references e.g. 'mother really did go to Iceland'.

Some parts are amusing rather than funny, however some of the comedy, I felt, fell flat .

It passes my test - i.e. I don't regret reading it.

I'll let you know if my views change when I've finished the book.

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