Of Mice and Maltesers Two - Artifarti's book(4 Posts)
I kept reading about this author and so when I found this book in a secondhand shop, I thought I'd give it a go. I really enjoyed it - it's a fairly light read but has a strong story and characters.
I won't say anything else now and will wait until people have read it...
I'm a bit confused about how I feel about this book. Partly I found it too 'obvious' - it felt like some things were supposed to be subtle but the author just didn't pull it off as such. The whole idea of the different perspectives clashing was a good one, and I liked the alternating chapters, but it wasn't as well-written as it might have been.
Having said that, I did find it to be quite engaging. I thought that the characters were well-developed with a strong sense of identity and consistency and the plot developed well.
I suppose overall I'd consider it a good 'holiday read' (& indeed finished it in Spain!) but nothing more serious than that, really. It's lack of technical excellence slightly irritated me (but then I am a literature student used to reading dreary, dreary texts which are technically amazing but matchstick-eyes material) but I liked it overall & had me reading it every night before bed.
That's interesting. I know what you mean about the obviousness but think that 'lack of technical excellence' may be a bit harsh!
I think you said it yourself - "dreary, dreary texts which are technically amazing but matchstick-eyes material" or "good holiday read [that] had me reading it every night before bed". It's the age-old debate about what makes a good book - would you rather take a Jilly Cooper or a Will Self on holiday? I know what I'd prefer. And I say all this as a former literature student, so know exactly what dreary books you mean! (Beowulf, I am talking about you.)
But, yes, I concede, not going to make it as one of the 1,000 books to read before you die (but then in my copy, Ali Smith's The Accidental is in there, which I thought was about the biggest waste of tree I had read for quite some time...)
I just finished this book 2 days ago & thought I'd write my thoughts.
I found it, first of all, an engrossing, good read. I finished it very quickly & enjoyed reading it. So I'm definitely going to be buying the sequel ('My driver', I think it's called) & perhaps other books by Maggie Gee too.
The main character, Mary Tendo, I found quite scary to be honest! I don't know if it was just me but I kept expecting the book to turn into a full blown thriller / crime novel. I was expecting that it would end in a murder, perhaps Mary Tendo murdering Justin? I certainly didn't foresee the 'happy ending' (if we can call it that). In general, I found it strange that i reacted in the book in this way: it spooked me out & as I said I read it as a thriller, a confrontation to the death between Vanessa & Mary. When I looked at the reviews on Amazon & then also here (by artifarti & RespecttheDoughnut) I see others haven't read it in this way. So would be interested in discussing this aspect more.
Apart from Mary Tendo, who I thought was thoroughly unlikable & spooky (or, again, was it just me?) I also deeply disliked Vanessa who was pretentious, self-obsessed & just a sorrowful human being. Justin was more interesting to me, as was his dad, but one complaint I did have about the book was that we didn't really get a lot of info about Justin and his depression, it was just mentioned & described in general terms, but not really explored properly.
I learnt so much about Uganda through this book too. I kept googling different snippets of info about Uganda that came up in the book and as I said, I learnt a lot.
I thought the most enjoyable & well created aspect of the book was the different viewpoints about Africa- it was very interesting to hear about Uganda & life there from the point of view of Mary & then from the point of view of Vanessa. Very true to life, insightful, and fascinating.
All in all, a very good read. Yes perhaps it does lack 'technical excellence' but well, I don't think it's aiming to be that kind of novel, it's just a good work of fiction, a novel to read & enjoy on an everyday basis.
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