5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2000
A storming read from Britains top performance poet. The characters are engaging, the narative witty and difficult to break away from. The setting is intense, and yet so normal it's frightening. It's a story of horror that shows the dark side of everyday life and love. As a debut novel Stone Baby is incredible, and those already familiar with Joolz Denby's other works will find her writing style comfortably familiar in such a dark and frightening story.
If you only read one crime novel in your life, even if you read nothing else, read this one.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2000
Well, this is a book not to forget, from a sub text at the begining which describes a real ordeal one woman went through in her life with a "Stone Baby" to a novel which you cannot stop reading. I say reading, but really, you personally "listen" to a tale being told to you, so vividly. The four main characters are unforgetable, JAMIE, troubled but uniquely tallented with her method to communicate to an audience. LILY, the storyteller whjo has so much to offer, but does not suffer ANY fools (thankfully), the outrageous and outstanding MOJO, a mystery so deep there is surely more to discover about him/her and the mysterious backbone of the four, GABE.
Like the other review says READ IT NOW and tell people about this excellent novel.
AND please, Joolz, if you read this continue the adventures of the four (or three if you feel Mojo will not reappear, but I think he will)
All I can finish with is Superb, five stars does not do this book justice
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2001
Wow! Joolz writes novels. I didn't know until last week and then promptly ordered Stone Baby and devoured it in about six hours. For someone like me, who takes weeks to finish novels, this is a big deal.
First, though, the reason this doesn't get five stars is because, well, books deserving five stars should be real life-changers. I've only read a handful of such books and they are absolute rarities.
That's not to say this is poor. Far from it. Joolz writes brilliantly and honestly. Anyone familiar with her poetry will know that it's savage beauty can rend your heart in two.
This is more like her performance, though. The wider scope of the novel genre has allowed her to really excel in her role as a story-teller. Everyone who's seen her live knows that this is Joolz's real skill. Her story-telling is impeccable, like the true poets of Old English. The story IS poetry. Not some heavy-handed and laboured musings. The reality and the authenticity of the words are where the beauty is and this is Joolz's talent.
The story is unfolded effortlessly, like she's there next to you with a pot of tea just, well, talking to you. It's a pretty major achievement and I do feel that the ability to tell a story so well is pretty uncommon. I rate Joolz alongside Hermann Hesse or, say, Knut Hamsun.
Like I said, this didn't change the way I view the world, but it was a very powerful tale and executed with such assured deftness that I will go back to it again and again.
It's a wonderful tale of friendship and anger, and I very highly reccommend it.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2001
This is one of the most compelling reads I have had for a while. I read it in four days and then went straight out and bought 'Corazon' which I read as quickly. Stone baby is my favourite of the two. The book begins with the punchline (a Bradford comedienne falls for a man who turns out to be a serial killer)and proceeds to build up the characters and story to an amazing depth. I really missed these characters when I finished the book!! Even though you are aware of the final twist, the story is so well-written you cannot put this book down.
You read Joolz Denby's fiction like it's one of her performances. As usual, it leaves you awestruck.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2001
"NO YOU'RE WRONG," the crazed lump lying on the matress in the corner of the room screamed, "SHE DIDN'T SAY THAT!" .... [thought] well she might have done, she always surprised me[/thought]!
So I read on ....
Joolz has written a book about my friends, known enemies and passers-by, the houses we've lived in ..... and somewhere in there dispelled the myth that we made a perfect society. She has shown that for all our manic potestations of non-conformity, we were, and are, a microcosm of the society whose rules we distain and bigotry (if not inbred in us) is fed us by the tabloid machinery of hate.
So I question all, and I question me: - who was I? - how did I react?
.... and damn, but a book that makes you think and question is a rare exception in this world where life is reduced to the blandest, most acceptable, lowest common denomator.
So please, my friend, make the lady happy and buy it .... if you hate the story you'll love the descriptive writing! (it's better value than a t-shirt! :-) )
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2002
Stone Baby is a fantastic story, funny, gripping, romantic, hedonistic and deeply moving. It has created a lasting impression upon me since I read it. It transports you into the world of the characters, that you become like another silent character within their lives. The plot, the characterisation, the tension is all superb. It could easily be adapted for film or TV. With me playing Jamie (please!!)
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2004
I have to honestly say I struggled to make it to the end of this book. The author seemed to have good credentials, a speech poet of some renown but amazingly this has translated into one of the most clichéd and caricatured books I've read in ages, unbelievable from cover to cover - with the most excruciatingly bad dialogue which in places made me squirm with embarrassment. The post-narrative way of starting with the end of the story means there are no surprises, and the climax which should be horrible and terrifying is about as affecting as a cartoon. The pysch. 101 use of a serious subject to form the basis of Jamie's motivation and this book may have been well-intended but comes across as being appropriated as an excuse for a thriller, which left a bad taste in my mouth.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2000
Joolz Denby is an amazing woman. She writes and performs poetry, she sells t-shirts at New Model Army gigs, years ago she used to support the band at gigs. She creates fantastic works of art for New Model Army album covers. She tours as part of Red Sky Coven with Justin Sullivan and Rev Hammer. This is just stuff I know about - and now this fantastic book!
I admit that it took me long time to read the first section, largely due to my present lifestyle that does not allow me to settle down to read for longer than five minutes. Until I went to London for the weekend and took the book to read on the train.
I bought a coffee and settled back to read. Two minutes later I was felt I was in the book, sitting there in the terraced house in Bradford on the scruffy sofa with Lil, Jamie and Mojo. I was picturing Gabe and his muscles, the tattoos, and I fell a little in love with him myself. I felt revulsion at Sean, his homophobia and racist suggestions, his treatment of Lily who by that point was my best friend too.
When the train arrived at Euston I reluctantly tucked the book back in the rucksack, only to fetch it out again for a whole 10 minutes on the tube. I rushed to my hotel and didn't leave the hotel until I had read the last page. I was late for the friends I was meeting for a meal to celebrate my own birthday!
I have only one complaint about the book, my love for a happy ending would have seen Gabe and Lily getting a little closer.
I have just pre ordered the next book, out next year. I don't know if I can wait!
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2007
The last two lines of the synopsis as shown for the item as listed on Amazon seemed a bit "cheesy" (and, as Paul McCarton - reviewer mentions below, "made me cringe") but if you leave these last two lines out, then the synopsis (as compared with the offerings we have available to us on the market) seems different, lively, intriguing and other words such as that.
I have not read this book, but I feel, from what I have said about the synopsis, that, on the balance of probabilities, I would favor the review of Robert Johnson (reviewer) over that of Paul (reviewer) order and read the book.