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At a very basic level this novel seems very simple, a tale of a young girl growing up in an unusual environment ( an ex-commune) who becomes attracted to the life of a seemingly ordinary family who live nearby. She becomes drawn in by that family and becomes implicated in the secrets that bind them. It all ends in tragedy and the girl has to examine her part in it.
But this novel is so much more than that straightforward narrative. It examines bullying in all its forms, by adults and children; secrets and lies; the nature of truth; coercion within relationships; religion and the choices that it forces upon vulnerable people; the rights of children; alleged paedophiles and their 'victims'.
It is very atmospheric and the descriptions of the remote area in which the story is set are very vivid. The only thing that bothered me was the voice of the narrator. Someone with a little more gravitas would have been more suitable, I felt. but overall, it didn't spoil the story.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I found this dark coming-of-age story extremely compelling and it has more emotional resonance for me than anything else on the Booker shortlist this year. Caitlin Thorburn read very well, although the voice was a little teenagy for a woman in her 30's as Madeline is when she narrates the story.
What annoyed me though were the bloopers, when a word was misread and became non-sensical in the context of the sentence - there were quite a few and they were majorly jarring and pulled me out of the story each time. How hard would it be to stop the recording and rerecord that section and get it right? This is a question for all publishers of audiobooks.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
An intriguing story, but hard for me to really get into as i couldn't relate to any of the characters.
I felt as though most of the story was made up of observations of the miniscule details of life. Whilst these observations were very evocative of the mundane, I felt like I spent most of the book wondering when it was going to tell me something of value to the larger story.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful