My first book of 2007! It was nearly the final book of 2006, but I didn’t quite get through it in time. :)
Just a quick warning that there are SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven’t read this book and don’t want to know some of the things that happen, you might want to skip this review. :)
I’ve just now had a look at the previous comments others have made, and I’m glad I didn’t read them before now (in other words, until after I’d finished the book). Which is funny, in a way, because I agree COMPLETELY! I felt exactly the same way about the ending, and it’s gratifying to discover that I’m not the only one who felt that way. However, I’m afraid that if I’d read those comments beforehand, I might not have enjoyed this book as much as I did, and I did enjoy it. It was a very interesting read, and I’d hate to have missed out on that just because the ending is anti-climactic, to say the least.
I really enjoyed her prose. It was interesting, and fresh, but not too heavy on slang. I thought her style fit very well with the subject matter – a blending (or clash, in many cases) of cultures. I loved the way she wove each individual thread into the book, and even how she brought them all together again at the end. It just would have been nice if she’d then done something a bit more spectacular with all her previous good work. (I’m put in mind of Stephen King, and not in a good way). I will admit, though, that I was glad she didn’t do some of the things I was afraid she would do (namely, killing characters that I would have been sad to see die).
I especially loved Irie, and found her speech on the bus to be marvelous (and relevant). I’d guessed Archie’s secret (I’m fairly certain we’re supposed to have guessed), but I was surprised (and pleasantly so) when the focus of this secret turned up when he did. There were some other lines that really struck me – one in particular about how we always believe ourselves to be worth loving, and the comment that perhaps this isn’t really a reasonable thing. That perhaps people who don’t return our love aren’t “damaged” as we like to believe they are. An interesting thought. There were many others in this book, too. (Although most of them have been lost from my memory, since it took me several weeks to read this book, what with the intervention of the holidays). I found it relevant and thought-provoking. One of my favorite things is that I managed to be annoyed (even disgusted) with the behavior of most (all?) of the characters at one point or another, and yet, I still managed to like them, in spite of their bad behavior.
On the whole, a meaty, well-written book. I will read others by this author. Hopefully she’ll have learned her lesson, and her new works actually have a proper denouement. 8/10