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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars filled with longing.........yearning................
I've never read any Patrick Gale novels before, but after reading this, I certainly will now! 'The Whole Day Through'is just excellent! It is filled with longing.....for lost loves, lost lives, lost youth, and yearning........for what was, what could be, and what is. Laura and Ben were young lovers, though socially incompatible. Laura's parents were academics, and she has...
Published on 10 July 2009 by laineyf

versus
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant summer read
I had enjoyed Patrick Gale's "Notes from an Exhibition" so when I saw a new Patrick Gale on the reading list I immediately ordered it. The concept of structuring events around a single day is not a new one, Michael Cunningham brilliant "The Hours" springs to mind, but here the handling is more pedestrian.
Laura has returned from Paris to care for her elderly mother...
Published on 26 April 2009 by Denise hale


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars filled with longing.........yearning................, 10 July 2009
By 
laineyf "widnes" (warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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I've never read any Patrick Gale novels before, but after reading this, I certainly will now! 'The Whole Day Through'is just excellent! It is filled with longing.....for lost loves, lost lives, lost youth, and yearning........for what was, what could be, and what is. Laura and Ben were young lovers, though socially incompatible. Laura's parents were academics, and she has had an unorthodox upbringing - her parents being naturists, and estranged from family, as well as being older parents. Ben, on the other hand comes from a happy home, he has a brother with a mosaic form of Downs Syndrome, of whom Ben is very protective. Their affair is passionate, but eventually fizzles out. Laura moves on to Paris, where she has a succession of unsatisfactory affairs, and Ben becomes a Doctor specialising in HIV. He goes on to marry Chloe, who was a very popular, pretty and rich girl at University, and not someone that Laura could ever relate to. Years later, laura returns to England to care for her now widowed and disabled elderly mother, and bumps into Ben. Some passions never die - they are merely left simmering until a chance encounter awakens them, and so it is for Ben and Laura. However, they are older now, they each have responsibilities, and ties.
This book just aches with longing, and the dilemma which faces Ben and Laura is very real, and utterly believable. I loved it, devoured it, and will read it again. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!, 16 July 2009
By 
Mrs. J. Jones "janejones" (Chester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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Typical Patrick Gale, slick and accomplished, language polished to perfection, unpredictable, a smooth surface hiding dark undercurrents. His characters always seem a tad 'Notting Hill' but he has a way of getting to the inner man (or woman) and as usual there is plenty of sex - gay and straight.

Gale is one of the few writers to portray gay characters for what they are - just like the rest of us. However, Bobby, the gay chap in this book, is not like the rest of us, he has Mosaic Down's Syndrome. This is another Gale trademark - a character suffering some obscure medical condition. He seems to be on a mission to get us all to leave aside our prejudices and treat everyone as equals. I've always liked his treament of older people, portraying them (us!) as living, breathing, sexual beings. Professor Jellicoe shows us the fragility of life as she heads towards an old age dependent on her daughter Laura, bones broken by osteoporosis. Gale has a particular sympathy with women, (a previous novel gave me the vocabulary to describe the horrors of the menopause) such a rarity in a male writer. This is one of the reasons that he is almost my favourite author, a close second to Isabel Allende.

Laura is the dutiful daughter, Ben the lover (a venereologist - is Gale a frustrated doctor?) and brother of gay/Down's Bobby. Cloe is Ben's wife, waiting on the sidelines while he chooses between her and Laura. Like most of Gale's books, there are layers upon layers and he is maturing into a very significant writer who deserves a much wider readership.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant summer read, 26 April 2009
By 
Denise hale (CHELTENHAM, Glos United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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I had enjoyed Patrick Gale's "Notes from an Exhibition" so when I saw a new Patrick Gale on the reading list I immediately ordered it. The concept of structuring events around a single day is not a new one, Michael Cunningham brilliant "The Hours" springs to mind, but here the handling is more pedestrian.
Laura has returned from Paris to care for her elderly mother who now lives in the home town of her college boyfriend of twenty years ago. Ben, the ex-boyfriend, has returned to his childhood home to look after his brother following the death of their mother. Laura and Ben meet and their mutual attraction is rekindled, but is it really their destiny to be together?
The chapters oscillate between Laura's story and Ben's. Laura's evolves around the care of her mother, whilst Ben's centres on his avoidance of dealing with the problems in his marriage to Chloe. Whilst these two are the focus it is the other characters who will influence the relationship's outcome without even meaning to. Patrick's strength is in his understanding of why people struggle with their problems when to an outsider (like the reader) the solution may seem obvious. The colour in Patrick's books comes from the grey areas of life.
For me this book did not meet the standard set by "Notes" but I did enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual but outstanding Gale!, 3 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
Is it ever a good idea to attempt to go back to an earlier, happier time? Will you be able to recapture the same feelings? Can you fulfil your (family) responsibilities while seizing the chances at happiness life offers you? These are some of the questions that Patrick Gale tries to answer in his most recent novel. I can see that opinion is divided on this novel but I have to say that I loved it! All the usual aspects you would expect from a Patrick Gale novel were there - well-observed examination of human relationships, intriguing characters and issues that I was left mulling over long after finishing the novel (specifically parent-children relationships and our right to happiness above all else).

This is a much shorter novel than Patrick Gale usually gives us and I think that may be where some readers have been disappointed. Remember, however, the events that are depicted are those of one summer's day (and the memories and musings that this triggers in both characters' lives). With each of Patrick Gale's books that I read I am continually amazed at his ability to portray quirky yet realistic characters. I found his portrayal of Laura/Lara and her relationship with her mother particularly convincing and found the insight into their daily lives very moving.

The plot of this novel has already been discussed at great length in other reviews but I feel it's necessary to say that Gale seems to have purposefully avoided the large cast of characters this time in order to concentrate on two characters in particular and the relationship that might save them both from their own self-inflicted prisons. A real gem of a book - full of life in all its many forms.

READ IT - you won't be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfactory ending turns what could have been great into just ok, 21 May 2009
By 
Stellastar (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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This was the first of Patrick Gale's I have read, though since reading this I have read the excellent Notes from an Exhibition which I enjoyed more.

Laura comes home from Paris to Winchester to look after her mother who cannot manage on her own anymore. Whilst home she bumps into her former boyfriend, the now married, Ben, and they reignite their romance.

Whilst I could empathize with both characters, they both struck me as rather weak people (explaining why would give away the key plot twists so I will refrain myself from that). I actually enjoyed the secondary characters of Laura's elderly mother, a naturalist and former academic and Ben's Down's syndrome brother - both much stronger individuals.

Whilst I wouldn't have expected a glowing sunset of an ending, the day seemed to peter out rather than properly finishing.

Worth a read, but only if you can borrow from a friend or the library, I don't think I would want to own in order to re-read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 11 Jun 2009
By 
Sue at home (Cheshire. uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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This is the first Patrick Gale novel I have read and I will certainly be reading more from this author.

I won't write a synopsis of the plot as there are many available on this website already.

This novel is engaging from the start. Interesting characters and relationships, excellent story development and fluent prose kept me avidly reading.

A book I would definitely recommend to friends, although, I think, generally book which would appeal to women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More than just a day in fact a lifetime, 25 Oct 2009
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
This book has so many levels and themes. Fundamentally it is the story between Laura and Ben, past lovers, who upon returning to Winchester take on the role of carers. Laura returns from Paris, where since splitting from Ben whilst at University has taken up with one disastrous man after another. Back in Winchester she has to care for her mother, who after breaking her hip and ankle has to be looked after as her body is slowly giving up on her, though her mind is as sharp as ever.

Ben leaves his wife behind and a successful job as a HIV consultant to look after his brother Bobby, who cannot cope when their mother dies. Bobby has Down's syndrome and is finally discovering his sexuality and trying to forge his own life which is leaving his brother behind in his own understanding. Both Bobby and Laura's mother are just as strong characters and actually sometimes leave Ben and Laura in the background. Their stories are as interesting.

Gale uses the whole concept of a day, to tell the story of Ben and Laura and cleverly uses memory and flashback to tell their back story and how they are brought together again. Going between Laura and Ben, we as readers see how they somehow seek solace in memories past and also their current lives and I think that they are searching for emotions to help them deal with their own lives.

A book which is rich in emotion, and perhaps somewhat shorter than previous novels, but one that when I got to the end of the day, aptly at the end of my day I felt bereft because the story ends so abruptly that it made me question the emotions that had been in use in the book. The loneliness, the power of love and lust, the happy and the sad moments in life. Its abrupt ending though was in reflection the correct one, but nonetheless it left me feeling quite lost that emotions run high in life even past ones are as important as present ones. If you are a fan of Patrick Gale's book (which I am fast becoming) then this will not disappoint but it is perhaps not one of his best, discover him at his best in Rough Music or Notes from an Exhibition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bland, lacks emotional depth, 29 July 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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This is the first Patrick Gale I've read and I'm not overly impressed: it's not a terrible or even a bad novel, just a very bland and `blah' one that is also quite emotionally shallow. I felt that it was like a short story that had been stretched artificially to make a novel.

As other reviewers have said, this is a terribly middle-class novel: Oxford, Winchester, academics, accountants and charity work all abound - nothing intrinsically wrong with that but it does give the book a very conservative and conventional tone. And, indeed, the characters themselves subsume their emotions and passions to `the done thing'. They're all terribly `nice', and while there is a kind of comic tragedy in that very niceness (in a Brief Encounter kind of way) I was left feeling nothing for the characters.

I also found it extremely off-putting that the main female character who is in her 40s calls her mother `mummy', and the narrator's voice does the same. It felt somehow patronising and a little unpleasant, almost mocking.
Stylistically, this is a novel which is overwhelmingly `told' rather than `shown' so it's more narrative than dramatic scenes and dialogue.

Oddly, I felt that the minor characters - `mummy', the younger brother - were far more vividly sketched than the main characters which made it difficult to feel anything for them. There are also some huge coincidences in the plot - how they all end up in Winchester, for example.

So overall not a bad novel: it's easy to read and passes the time but is instantly forgettable - the theme of the second chance at love has been done far better elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle summer reading, 16 Jun 2009
By 
N. Gratton "Writer & Photographer" (Exeter) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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Supposedly set during one whole day, I was initially reminded of the "Before Sunset/ After sunrise" films which use a similar time lapse in order to capture a story. However, this seemed to have a far slower paced and slightly choppy start as we go from seeing the story through the eyes of both main characters in turn.

The story really revolves around 4 characters; Ben- the main male character is a GUM/AIDS specialist who has moved to Winchester to look after his Downs Syndrome brother whilst trying to escape from his marriage. Laura who returns from Paris to look after her once brilliant and respected professor Mother, who cannot move into care as she prefers to live as a naturist, Bobby, the brother who after the death of his mother has discovered his sexual self and finally the slightly spoilt wife Chloe who seems to have a strange power over Ben that he can only escape from by being in Winchester!

The characters are well portrayed although I got the feeling that Gale looked at what research his friends and family could provide him with, then based the story on this as the combination of naturist, gay downs syndrome man and Winchester are not an obvious chart topping combination!

The book ends with a good twist but as with most reviewers, I did not feel this was as good as "Notes from a" maybe as it is deliberately aimed at the light summer reading market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but not the best, 1 Aug 2009
By 
SBno1 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Whole Day Through (Paperback)
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This is a refreshingly true to life novel. The main characters mother has become frail and in need of her daughters help even though the mother was a brilliant professor in the past.

The daughter has to move in with her mother and help her in a way that isn't obvious to the mother as she is a proud woman. The mother tries to continue to act as she always has including naturism. Leading to a few comical scenes of nudity and the way that the writer refers to the scenario.

When the daughter meets up with her childhood sweetheart, who is married, she finds out that he is in a similar situation as he has a brother with Downs Syndrome. His mother has died and he has had to temporarily take her place and move in with his brother leaving his wife at home alone. His marriage is unstable, she wanting, but unable to have children, but he is against fertility treatment suspecting that the marriage is not strong enough.

He enters a relationship with his childhood sweetheart and although they try to fight it, the attraction is too strong.

A book of mixed emotions and moral duties, showing the sacrifices that people make to help others. You feel the pain of the characters, but unfortunately I felt that the ending was a little weak.

It was still an enjoyable read.
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The Whole Day Through
The Whole Day Through by Patrick Gale (Paperback - 28 May 2009)
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