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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read... (SPOILERS)
This is my first India Knight book and I was really drawn to the synopsis. I was a little apprehensive upon reading the negative reviews on here.

I really enjoyed this book and it made me laugh out loud at certain parts. Many of the things that Clara did are exactly how I am (thinking I have all the Christmas shopping done, but finding myself still buying...
Published on 31 Dec 2010 by C. Rucroft

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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a pity
I've always loved India Knight's non-fiction writings - The Thrift Book (you end up spending more but never mind), The Shops, even the diet book where she never mentioned that she smoked, but never mind that either, her Sunday Times columns. But this book, which began well and promised much, quickly degenerated into a string of opinion-columns strung together. Thing is,...
Published on 6 Dec 2010 by CC


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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a pity, 6 Dec 2010
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)
I've always loved India Knight's non-fiction writings - The Thrift Book (you end up spending more but never mind), The Shops, even the diet book where she never mentioned that she smoked, but never mind that either, her Sunday Times columns. But this book, which began well and promised much, quickly degenerated into a string of opinion-columns strung together. Thing is, I like reading her opinions so this was fine for me, for a while. Then I realized what different worlds we inhabit. I'm not talking about the amicable ex-husbands all coming for Christmas (don't they have commitments too? once again never mind) - that's all lovely - but the presentation of the creepily cold mother Kate as the norm and the warm and lovable mother-in-law Pat as the deviation was not so much offensive as baffling. And as for the two sisters, who seemed to be modelled on Jassy and Victoria in Love in a Cold Climate, I wouldn't give their silliness house room.

There are some lovely descriptions in the book. India Knight can certainly write. What a pity she can't find any interesting people to write about.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)
I usually like India Knight's books and columns but this book was so disappointing, lazy writing with unbelievable characters and situations, the character of Pat was particularly unconvincing - along with the two step-sisters. So sorry I spent the money on this, I normally pass books on to friends and relatives but this one will be going straight to the charity shop - I wouldn't want to inflict it on them!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor writing...and offensive, 9 Jan 2012
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
Given the title and subject matter I wasn't expecting a thought-provoking book, just some light hearted fun. Unfortunately, India Knight fails to create even a basic plot line and this lack of narrative isn't made up for by a few good laughs - there just aren't any. As I read it, I thought 'ok, it isn't very good but I'll continue with it in case it's all leading somewhere'. I'm so sorry I did.
About half-way through, Knight decides to attack Irish working class people through her portrayal of Pat, the main character's mother in law. According to the main character Caira, Pat and people like her are incredibly ignorant, stupid, judgemental, have poor diets, cannot handle relationships and on and on. As an Irish woman, I read on with total horror as Knight's racist generalisations continued. This read like the author on a rant, not one character's misguided opinions.
I wish I'd read the (mostly bad) reviews here before buying this book.
Comfort and Joy? I don't think so.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it ..., 3 Dec 2011
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
I managed to read this about a quarter of the way through and had to give up. The book had a horrible, nasty "tone" to it and I just couldn't bring myself to carry on with it. Storyline shallow, difficult to engage with the characters. Would not recommend this one at all.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not great, 3 Jan 2011
By 
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)
Sorry India, love everything else you've written but not keen on this. The sisters and Pat were totally unbelievable characters, and I did feel that the characterisation of Pat was almost offensively cliched. Seemed like it may have been rushed out for Christmas and really wasn't much there at all - certainly not much comfort or joy.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy and self-congratulatory, 28 Mar 2011
By 
Alex (Greenwich) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)
I bought this book for two people for Christmas on the back of gushing press reviews and now I've read it I actually feel embarrassed to have inflicted this novel on them. It reads as though it was written over a weekend, and the snobbishness running throughout is quite breathtakingly ugly. Not to mention the tone of self-congratulation - look at me, I have a squillion children (none of whom ever seem to misbehave or do anything child-like) and several ex husbands, all of whom love me, aren't I fabulous? I felt as though I was reading a bad episode of Ab Fab but didn't laugh once.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing - and nasty, 27 Dec 2010
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)
Like so many other reviewers, I have enjoyed many of India Knight's other novels and collections of writing, and so I was excited about this one, with the return of Clara (from "My Life on A Plate" - which is great fun) as the heroine. I am afraid that I was very disappointed: not only with the structure (which betrays Knight's journalist's origins too clearly, with a distinct sense of "copy" rather than "narrative"), but with the fact that the tone of the whole book is nasty and snobbish.
I've never had much sympathy for the idea that one must have likeable heroes in order to engage - where does that leave you with King Lear, Othello, Heathcliff or Emma? - but the Clara of this novel is so self-centred, so self-righteous, so dismissive of other people's feelings as she goes steam-rollering over them in the interest of instant gratification that she becomes a huge alienating force within the book, and the other elements just aren't strong enough to compensate.
I can't recommend it in any way: but do try "My Life on a Plate" for a bit of charming (and eventually, very moving) fun.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to read!, 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
I like to read a light novel with a Christmas theme to get me in the mood for the festive season but this book totally failed to deliver. I have never read any other books by India Knight but am aware of her reputation and the cover of Comfort and Joy caught my eye so I bought it (having worked in PR and marketing I should have been a bit more astute)!

The book got off to a good start but then it was down hill all the way. I was baffled by the characters and by Clara in particular. Readers are obviously supposed to warm to her but it's pretty hard to like someone who ditches her husband for no clear reason - well, she has panic attacks in bed at night but what had husband number 2 done to cause that? What's the message here anyway? Is it that you don't need to work very hard at marriage because it's perfectly easy to leave your husband, find another willing man and carry on bringing up three children in the lap of luxury with barely a pause for breath?

So why did I carry on reading it? Well, I hate to waste good money and I kept hoping it would improve at the end.I suppose some people might enjoy the description of pure gluttony in the final Christmas in Morocco scene but I didn't; I found it obscene as well as unbelievable. While a bit of escapism could be a good thing in this time of economic gloom, this end section seemed more designed to rub people's noses in it.

I am actually sitting here feeling guilty at having hastily given this book to a charity shop just before Christmas because some other poor person is probably now saddled with it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fine for a fake snow Christmas..., 10 Dec 2011
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
I bought this book after reading a positive Guardian book review and was expecting great things. Really disappointed in this and was expecting it to be much much better. I wanted a Christmas tale with a bit of fire and warmth.... and with this all I got was fake snow. Admittedly haven't read anything previously by India Knight, so can't compare with previous work - but I found this really annoying - half-way through I've given up today. The plot is thin, the characters 2-dimensional and the dialogue I found unfunny, unpleasant and strained. It just all seems a bit sad and pointless - a novel without heart or soul. The characters of Pat, the boys, sisters, the mother, mother-in-law and ex-husbands are all a bit crass in their (under)development - a motley crew of tired stereotypes and caricatures which in the real world just don't ring true. Teenage boys just don't speak like this! - ooh, I know, let's have some naughty language and make them say 'arse' every other sentence because that's what teenagers do (no, they don't). Added to this I didn't particularly like the character of Clara so I didn't care what happened to her anyway - why doesn't she just ask for some help? What a martyr as she alone slaves away over 2 christmas dinners and OMG... horror of horrors !...she forgot the Truffle for the vegetarians - someone hand her a spade quickly so she can take to the woods and let her dinner get even colder....

I disagree with reviews which say those of who didn't enjoy this don't have a sense of humour. The trouble is that the humour is either cringe-making or peurile - how I laughed at yet another piece of 'witty' dialogue on bodily functions (floaters, mouth-sick et al.) - haven't had such a laugh since first-year infants. There are tiny glimmers of a good novel trying to get out from deep within which is a shame... I did enjoy the opening section of last-minute Christmas shopping and thought this was nicely portrayed - why didn't it just continue like this? but for now I'm off to put some fuel on my winter fire so this should come in handy!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing!, 23 Dec 2010
By 
HM Patterson (Chippenham Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)
I bought this book as a pre Christmas read and wish I hadn't bothered. It is full of the most hideously boring, shallow, characters which India Knight tries to make trendy by adding the odd four letter swear words here and there. I never warmed to any of them and couldn't care less what happed to them. I only managed to read three quarters of this before giving up on it and I don't give up easily. I certainly shall not be looking for any more of her books. Still on a positive note I can donate this one to the book stall at the village's summer bring and buy sale and hope that someone I am not fond of buys it.
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Comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy by India Knight (Paperback - 10 Nov 2011)
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