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
41 of 42 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christmas read,
I love India Knight's style of writing and her turn of phrase.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a Christmas book that isn't the usual sickly sweet tale where the main characters fall in love and live happily ever after.
4.0 out of 5 stars Well named,
I'm already familiar with, and generally fond of, India Knight's world view and tone of voice and both are very much in evidence here. It's quite hard not to see this as wholly autobiographical although apparently it's only partially so.
Either way it's funny and sweet and posh and opinionated and quite reminiscent of Nancy Mitford, and I really liked it.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as her others,
5.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable seasonal read,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)I'd never read India Knight before, but last year before Christmas, I fancied something seasonal and picked up Comfort and Joy.
And what a joy the book was! I could really identify with Clara, who on the day before Christmas Eve, stressed and laden with shopping, decides to leave Oxford Street and instead allow herself the luxury of a solitary pre-Christmas drink at the posh London hotel, The Connaught. The drink turns out not to be so solitary, and the perfect family Christmas Clara has been planning and working so hard to achieve, is also full of surprises.
Comfort and Joy is a really enjoyable read, which I've recommended to all my friends.
1.0 out of 5 stars Quick Question,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)I am deciding whether or not to buy this, I have a question. Is the heroine of this book the same Clara that was in 'My Life on a Plate' and 'Comfort & Joy'? if so, I don't think I'll bother. Judging from the majority of reviews so far that's probably a wise decision!
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, rambling and vulgar,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)I enjoyed My Life on a Plate despite Ms. Knight's unhealthy fascination with all things toilet related but this book was terrible.
Two hundred plus pages of a group of self centered, whiny people meeting each year to snipe at each other and talk endlessly about themselves. In between the sniping and whining there is some affection but the characters were so unlikeable and one dimensional that I couldn't share in that affection.
Usually if a book isn't my cup of tea I donate it to a library but this one went in the trash. I won't be spending money on any of Ms. Knight's books again.
31 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)I generally love India Knight's writing, in particular her column in The Times and her previous titles "My Life on a Plate" and "The Shops" which rank amongst my great comfort reads and never fail to make me laugh out loud. Her latest offering, however, has left me cold, not least because I found the character Pat, her estranged husband's mother, ridiculously cliched and downright offensive. She is meant to come from Northern Ireland and almost everything she says involves the construction "you're that good to me", "the children are that good at eating their vegetables" - it becomes very grating after a while and I have yet to encounter anyone from Northern Ireland who actually speaks like this.
Aside from the speech patterns, Pat is singularly lacking in any sort of emotional intelligence and is presented as a boorish simpleton. She sniffs her food before eating it, she behaves like a narrowminded xenophobe when abroad (whilst sporting a ridiculous sombrero), she only speaks in platitudes etc etc The other characters indulge her and speak of her like she is some sort of pet. The thing which is highly offensive, however, is that she is presented as being representative of all her countrymen and class - apparently the working class Irish raise their children on tinned pies and don't know what a vegetable looks like. And should Irish parents divorce, it will inevitably be bitter and the father will make no effort to see his children ever again should the mother make access difficult. Really quite breathtaking generalisations which coloured my enjoyment of the novel.
As for the main character, Clara, I found her rather unbelievable. She recovered dramatically quickly from her first marriage in "My Life on a Plate" and when her second goes awry, she bounces back without any self-examination or criticism beyond vaguely wondering whether everyone experiences and bemoans the falling away of passion in the face of family life. I know this is meant to be light-hearted writing but India Knight is capable of both hilarity and pithy (and often heartrending) insights in a book such as "The Shops" - a little more emotional depth and realism would have made Clara more appealing.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and witty run up to Christmas,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Hardcover)Clara is a harassed mother of three children from two different dads. Every year she goes out of her way to create the best Christmas with hilarious results. The book covers three different years. It starts with 2009 and ends with 2011. Each Christmas sees her going all out to cater for up to fifteen different people, all with differing tastes. The best Christmas they have is the last one, when she decides to book a trip for the whole family in Marrakesh.
This book was absolutely hilarious to begin with. The first chapter nearly gave me an asthma attack as I just couldn't stop laughing. Hubby thought there was something seriously wrong with me. The way Clara speaks to her audience reminds me of how I normally refer to Christmas. Every year I walk a fine line between trying to create the ultimate Christmas and loathing it intensely. Clara is exactly the same. She goes totally over the top with all her preparations and never finds time to actually enjoy it until the last Christmas when she finally relaxes and lets someone else take the reins. I loved Clara's mother Kate, as she reminded me of one of my aunts. Though most people who have read the book were quite put off by her character, yet I found her comfortable to be around, like a pair of old slippers.
This book has received quite a lot of bad reviews, especially on Amazon. However, I got India Knight's humour completely. I could relate to her sarcasm with ease. I am known to actually talk in a similar manner, so it definitely was an interesting read for me. I could almost hear myself within her words.
The book really is only funny in the first couple of chapters, but definitely worth reading to the end. It was a wonderful read to accompany my journey through the madness of December. If you suffer from anxiety attacks during Christmas and normally run around like a headless chicken, then this book will make you feel much better. I would definitely recommend looking out for it for next year.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read - laugh out loud material!,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)I have literally just finished this book and found it to be a fantastic read! I notice below reviewers disliked the book and thought it only fair to bring my thoughts forward. Comfort and Joy was lent to me by my boss over Christmas, having had a rather busy festive period as usual i had no time for reading. However, once i started, i couldnt put the thing down.This book had me laughing out loud on many occations, an easy read and perfect for the Christmas period. If your looking to relax, be entertained and laugh cover to cover - this is the book for you. India's writing is delicious. I have not read any of India's books before, but i most certainly will be looking into her others. Christmas shopping for this year - Comfort and Joy for all my female friends. :-)
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Snorts of Laughter!,
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)I kept getting strange looks from my husband as I was reading India Knight's 'Comfort and Joy', because of the snorts of laughter that kept coming from my direction. Not lady-like, gentle little snorts, but great big loud honking snorts! First of all, you really need to 'get' India Knight's style of humour, espcially if you want a really good snort. She is often crude, near the knuckle and unforgiving. If you like your Christmas humour sedate and traditional then maybe Eric and Ernie would be more your thing.
Comfort and Joy is actually the sequel to 'My Life on a Plate' written years ago and we meet the lead character Clara; older but not really that much wiser. It's a couple of days before Christmas, Clara is flying around Oxford Street trying her best to not spend too much on presents for people that don't appreciate them and wondering how she gets herself into this state year after year.
The story goes on, introducing Clara's wildly dysfunctional circle of family and friends, including ex-husbands, sisters and old friends. Although this is a comic novel, there is also a underlying theme of tragedy lurking beneath the surface - the break-ups, the sadness, the stresses and the strains of life. I really enjoy India Knight's style of writing, it's a perfect pick me up.
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Comfort and Joy by India Knight (Paperback - 10 Nov 2011)