Profile for Sue Kichenside > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Sue Kichenside
Top Reviewer Ranking: 169
Helpful Votes: 1584

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Sue Kichenside
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Cat out of Hell
Cat out of Hell
by Lynne Truss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, not my bowl of milk., 14 Mar 2014
This review is from: Cat out of Hell (Hardcover)
I love Lynne Truss's writing; she wears her brilliance so lightly. But I didn't care for this because I have an aversion to anthropomorphised animals. How fascinating it was, though, to read it immediately after Life of Pi! In Pi, the tiger Richard Parker, may (or may not) be imaginary but at least the author keeps his big cat within the realms of reality. Talking cats are, for me, a turn-off and I'm left wondering about the sub-text here. Is Lynne Truss perhaps working through her feelings in the light of her recent and highly unusual transformation from 'cat person' to 'dog person'? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?


Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars "Memory is an ocean and he bobs on its surface.", 14 Mar 2014
This review is from: Life of Pi (Paperback)
Wrongly assuming this to be a tale of magic realism, I have always resisted reading Life of Pi. I can now see exactly what all the fuss was about. It's an extraordinary book: compelling, disturbing, thought-provoking, challenging, above all - haunting. The writing is sublime.

Perhaps Yann Martel's greatest achievement in this many-layered work is his hero, Pi Patel. Funny, philosophical, clever, staunch, ingeniously resourceful, entirely remarkable, genuinely likeable, Pi is a unique voice narrating his epic story of endurance and survival.

"That's what fiction is about, isn't it, the selective transforming of reality?"


Q
Q
by Luther Blissett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2.0 out of 5 stars This Reformation needs re-formation: Luther Blissett should have stuck with 4-2-2., 6 Mar 2014
This review is from: Q (Paperback)
Luther Blissett is the pen name of the four Italians who wrote this book. This confusing, heavy-going account of the Reformation and the peasants' revolt in 16th century Europe could and should have been fascinating. But for me the constant chopping and changing of time frames together with a strange mix of endless period religion-speak and modern usage combined to make this far too laborious a read. It was a blood-bath out there on the pitch and eventually, I'm afraid, I had to retire from the game.


The Paris Architect
The Paris Architect
by Charles Belfoure
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man proposes, war disposes., 28 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Paris Architect (Hardcover)
This is a compelling story set in Nazi-occupied Paris during the Second World War. Lucien is a talented out-of-work architect, a cowardly man of questionable morals although he is, at least, self-aware. The book opens with a wealthy industrialist, Manet, offering Lucien a small project to create a disguised hiding space in an apartment for a Jewish friend.

Lucien is tempted by the proffered fee but too scared to get involved. But then Manet dangles the carrot of designing a new factory for him, contingent on his agreement to the smaller commission. Will Lucien's fear force him to turn down this golden opportunity to prove his architectural chops or will he be enticed into a treacherous world where one false step will mean certain death at the hands of the Gestapo?

That is just the starting point and it's a terrific tale. Unfortunately, the telling of it leaves a lot to be desired. Clunky exposition, unnatural-sounding dialogue and heavy-handed characterisation all conspire to turn this five star story into a three star read. That averages out at 4*. A shame, as this could have been absolutely brilliant. It will be interesting to see how Charles Belfoure follows his promising debut.


Film Freak
Film Freak
by Christopher Fowler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Loving footnotes to the British film-biz., 27 Feb 2014
This review is from: Film Freak (Paperback)
Christopher Fowler takes us back to the 70s when Wardour Street was the English version of Hollywood and he spent his life "watching lousy films in run-down fleapits". (Do young people today even know what the word 'fleapit' means, I wonder?) Fowler raises our hopes in the foreword: "I could tell you some stories about celebrities that would make your hair fall out..." only to dash them: "...but that would be another book."

A would-be screenwriter, he lands a job as a copywriter in a London ad agency, becoming life-long friends with colleague Jim. Eventually they combine their advertising skills with their passion for movies to launch a film-marketing company together in his beloved Soho.

This is a light, easy, nostalgic read. There are occasional longueurs into the esoteric world of rubbish British films but there are also fascinating detours to the Cannes Film Festival and the horrors of Hollywood aka LaLaLand.

My memories of the advertising world in that era differ somewhat to the author's and I also had a few quibbles with some of the details and quotes, but the most annoying thing about this book is the constant use of footnotes which interrupt the flow of reading. Fun at first, it became extremely wearing. A writer of Christopher Fowler's experience really should have been able to incorporate what he wanted to say into what he was saying! 3.5*


The Following Girls
The Following Girls
by Louise Levene
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too cool for school!, 24 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Following Girls (Hardcover)
The four school friends, each called Amanda, throw out sharp lines and witty retorts like there's no tomorrow in this engaging nostalgia-fest from Louise Levene. Regulars to the detention room, the Four Mandies (as they are collectively known) are differentiated by their surnames: Baker, Stottie, Queenie and Bunty (short for Bunter-Byng).

The book is set in the 70s but, rest assured, whenever you went to school it will all come flooding back! There's not much plot to speak of but the main Amanda - Baker - has a sufficiently interesting home life to sweep the story along. This is tremendous fun and touching too. Write out 500 times: I did enjoy this book, I did enjoy this book, I did enjoy this book...


Enough Said [DVD] [2013]
Enough Said [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ James Gandolfini
Price: £9.95

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed, I cried, I loved it., 21 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Enough Said [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini are a wonderful pair of actors and they make a wonderful pairing in this bittersweet film. They play two divorcees who meet for the first time just as their teenage daughters are about to leave home to go off to college.

In exploring the various relationships, this film asks if it possible to adapt to other people's faults as we get older and grow less tolerant. And can we overcome our fears born of experience? This is a universal story. It may be slight but the wry, empathetic telling of it rings true. Very warmly recommended.

RIP James Gandolfini


Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Still Life with Bread Crumbs
by Anna Quindlen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stilled life., 17 Feb 2014
When we meet Rebecca, it is the middle of the night and she can hear something ominous scurrying about in the attic. She has just moved to a remote 'cottage' in upstate New York, having sub-let her expensive Manhattan apartment to make ends meet. The word 'cottage' had duped her. The place is no more than a glorified shack with a roof that needs sorting out.

Rebecca is a highly acclaimed photographer whose income from her most famous work is now dwindling. She is sixty years old, divorced, with a son she loves but sees little of. Anna Quindlen's quiet, self-contained heroine is lonely; she just doesn't know it yet. Enter the scene Jim Bates, the roofer who comes to fix the racoon-sized hole in her roof. Will he also be able to fix the man-sized hole in her heart?

A simple, predictable story perhaps but so beautifully told. By the end of the book, we have grown to know Rebecca Winter as well as her creator does. This is a sensitively-written empathetic read that will undoubtedly appeal more to women and is very warmly recommended. 4.5 stars


A Highly Unlikely Scenario: Or, a Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World
A Highly Unlikely Scenario: Or, a Neetsa Pizza Employee's Guide to Saving the World
by Rachel Cantor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Leonard in Wonderland., 13 Feb 2014
I'm all for books about dystopian futures but this one was wa-a-ay too weird and off the wall for me. Such a great idea for a plot too - fast food companies running the world - but the author failed to conjure up that world and I just couldn't picture it in my mind's eye.

Instead, Rachel Cantor delivered up a conventional 'hero' - 24 year old Leonard, no parents, no luck with girls, missing his dead grandpa - and then just ran amok with all the other elements of the story, most of which were completely inscrutable. Out of this world - and not in a good way.


Completion
Completion
by Tim Walker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friendly bacteria - and other engaging characters., 12 Feb 2014
This review is from: Completion (Hardcover)
What a refreshing change to read a novel about the middle-classes that doesn't spread itself too thinly by telling too many stories. Completion presents us simply with the Manvilles - father, mother, daughter, son - and it does so very humorously indeed. By focusing mainly on these four characters, Tim Walker gives himself the space to explore them. I loved it.

Jerry: Creative adman wunderkind in the 80s, now retired, yet still consuming his lifetime supply of 'Ppalleena!' (read: Yakult), one of the brands he helped to launch back in the day. The term 'friendly bacteria' will no doubt be familiar.

Ex-wife Pen: Now living in the South of France with her less-than-exciting second husband and leading a languid life (aside from the gardening and the handyman).

Daughter Isobel: Relieves the unutterable tedium of life with a young family in Dubai by playing her online game 'Acres' (read: Farmville). It has become an obsessive-compulsive addiction - and she's spending a fortune on tractors.

Son Conrad: Rubbing along in a fairly squalid flat-share in East London, Conrad has a passion for cycling, a gauche way with girls and a tragic career-curve trajectory; he currently works part-time filling shelves in a chichi health-food shop.

Beneath the humour lies a vivid if unsettling snapshot of the ludicrousness of modern middle-class life c. 2011. The author has a light touch and he knows his stuff - much of this enjoyable debut novel rings all too true. As a satire, it may lack a little bite but it's jolly well entertaining! 4.5 stars


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20