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The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life Paperback – 1 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (1 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099446995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099446996
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,215,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The remarkable new novel by the acclaimed author of Mouthing the Words. (2003-04-02)

From the Back Cover

Camilla Gibb's new novel tells the unusual story of two siblings, Emma and Blue, who, despite an almost telepathic connection, respond to the disruptions of their childhood and the sudden disappearance of their explosive father in remarkably different ways.

In her father's absence, Emma travels vast distances, both internal and external, in pursuit of a new family, and discovers a sense of belonging in the most unexpected of places. Blue, her burly, tattoo-stamped brother, haunted by the brutal, criticizing voice of their father, sets off on a cross-country search for their elusive parent. In the novel's powerful conclusion, brother and sister find value in each other's quest, reconciled to the fact that one can love without ever truly understanding the other.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms. E. Blankson VINE VOICE on 20 Nov 2007
Format: Paperback
The book is essentially about a brother and sister with strong bond caused by their family situation battling through at first their childhood and then their adult hood, It concentrates on how their bond changes and how the past comes back to haunt their futures.

As the book shifts from brother to sister narrator you find yourself siding with each sibling in his/her quest for knowledge and happiness and fight to break away from their past.

For a story which bases itself through the span of two lives it's a quick moving story which really captures life and the stronghold that your parents have in your future even when they are not there.

The easy language and quick visual imagery that the book sets makes this an easy and good read, I read it in less than a day. It's a book I would recommend to most.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. M. Price on 10 July 2008
Format: Paperback
The title says it all. This book is literally the best read of my life, it works on so many levels and is full of thoses sentences that make you stop and think - wow. Heart renderingly beautiful, never has a book full of such odd characters captured hearts and imaginations so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SusieH on 8 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
Petty Details of So-and-so's Life

Oliver and Elaine Taylor and their children Emma and Llewellyn (Blue) seem to be a pretty dysfunctional family.

Oliver thinks of himself as an inventor, with a head full of largely unrealistic ideas for amazing inventions. He opts out of family life to live in the garage, then moving on to be a squatter in a disused building. He only keeps in touch with Blue, which is a source of pain for Emma.

Elaine takes to drink.

Emma leaves home as quickly as she can to live with the first boyfriend who she considers may be in a position to further her future, and then goes away to university.

When Oliver finally disappears without trace Blue tries to find him.

All four are damaged in some way. All can be self-destructive, only some can be healed.

Fascinating, if uncomfortable at times.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Dark but compelling 24 Dec 2002
By Glenn McLeod - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The story of two lonely children growing up in a dysfunctional family - the father bi-polar; the mother alcoholic. The extreme dependance on each other while young continues into young adulthood and leads to dysfunctions in their own lives. The story is told with compassion and vigor, not leaving out any of the sordid mind crumpling activities of drugs and loneliness. Well told but difficult to read for any length of time. Small doses go a long way.
Life is Petty 21 Aug 2003
By David Hamburg - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, by Camilla Gibb
If great writing ultimately exposes the true condition of human existence - no holds barred, then Camilla Gibb's stunning novel, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, succeeds on a grand scale. One needn't search this book for those sought after kernels of truth - they are all abound...the good, the bad and the really funny.
The book is about the painful and lonely struggle of two essentially abandoned siblings, Emma and Blue Taylor, bound together on both a psychic and emotional level that is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. But is shared pain enough to support them on their quests to emerge from the ruins of Dysfunction? Ms. Gibb's characters lead the reader on a hard-edged journey of the picaresque that explores the two rather disparate roads taken. Emma battles to succeed in the comfort of upper class life - the right man, the nice house and a promising academic career. Meanwhile, Blue, the tattoo artist, discovers meaning - at least for a while, but in a far less respectable venue. How does strip-joint sound?
But the haunting echoes of their past are never far away; Deranged Dad wastes away in the junkyard, pathetically clinging to delusions of grandeur and mom is an ex-hippie who personifies all of the failed ideals of the Peace and Love Generation. Everybody has skeletons in their closets, but what do you when yours are out on the loose? Welcome to a day in the life of the Taylor kids.
Gibb's writing is clear and crisp, with hilarious bits strewn throughout the novel. Let's face it - sometimes pathetic is just plain funny, it's also a nice break from the intensity of a novel that never lets down. Petty Details is the voice of the disaffected, the disenfranchised, the is the voice of humanity.
David Hamburg
Gripping 3 Jan 2004
By Lynda Taller-Wakter - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book grabbed me from the beginning until the end. I could not put this book down because of Gibb's intelligent prose, hard wit, humour, imagery and fragile characters. The characters are so well-defined and crafted, I easily became enmeshed in their lives for what was too short a time period. I was so gripped by this book, my husband couldn't wait to read it. If you loved Anne-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees, you will fall for this character-driven drama that takes you behind-the-scenes of dysfunctional family life and into the hearts and minds of characters that beg to be loved. My only complaint about Petty Details is that it was 100 pages too short. Gibb herself is fascinating. I was so intrigued by her writing, I wanted to learn more about her and was not surprised to learn she has a PhD in social anthropology but pursued a career in writing. Smart choice.
Beauty in the details 14 Aug 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
From their youth to their young adulthood the main characters, had to suffer through horrible family relationships and experiences, and yet they salvage from this and from each other, what they can in attempts to find comfort and love.
Their lives are told as a collection of details – little events and stories that shaped who they were and how they would cope.
The characters always seem to be on the verge of overcoming their history and regardless of the misfortune they experience, they strive to continue. Really that is what the sum of life is.
I thought it was wonderfully written and poetic. I grew to love the characters and I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend this novel.
Dysfunctional fun 20 July 2006
By groovymamma - Published on
Format: Paperback
This tale is about 2 kids who grow up in the shadow of a crazy father and an alcholic mother and struggle to find themselves.

The characters grabbed me from the get go. Blue, the brother, falls for a stripper and opens a tattoo parlour. His character is written with an authenticity that made me see tattooed, stripper loving men in a different light. Likewise, his sister Emma has her own personal demons to confront until she eventually discovers she's a lesbian.

Insightful look at human nature.
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