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4 of 4 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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45 of 46 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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45 of 46 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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12 of 12 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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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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A major let-down, 9 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
I wanted to love the book when I borrowed this - India's one of the reasons I buy the Sunday Times, and I hadn't read any of her novels before - but I felt massively dispirited by the end and quite offended, too. It was the tone that left the strongest impression on me - cruel, snobby, and judgemental. To take one example, the main character, Clara, talks about how people on economy flights are the ones who clamour to the toilets first on planes after eating and people who fly business don't! Most unpleasant. Wafer-thin characterisations don't help either with engaging with the book (better if she'd have shortened the amount of characters, I think) and I agree with most of the reviewers who thought that the character of Pat - the only working class person here - is really quite appallingly written, at a surprisingly base level, so much that she's almost cartoon-like in a weirdly anachronistic kind of way.

Before the novel begins, India says that this book is a work of fiction but this doesn't exactly ring true for me. Alot of the characters and some situations in the book resemble much of what she's written elsewhere - online, in her columns, and in her non-fiction books so, erm...yeah.

India's style means that it's a very easy read in a sense (she always is even though I sometimes violently don't agree with her!), and I finished it in less than a week. Her thoughts on marriage are sometimes powerful and gave me some food for thought. But all in all it did leave a nasty taste in my mouth and it's not something I'd want to read again or recommend, especially not at Christmas!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unremittingly shallow and cliched., 26 Dec. 2011
By 
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
What a nasty world this author must live in. This novel begins quite well. I found the opening scene very vivid and quite funny as the heroine shops in Oxford Street for suitable gifts for her 'whacky' family. But once we progress into the story it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Clara tells us how her marriage has survived because she's 'put out' so much over the years. And how there may not be zingy passion every day but that friendship and shared love of their children has kept them solid... And then she gets her head turned by a hunk in a bar... and then hubby walks out. Which crucial scene we don't even get to see. What happened to them?? We never even hear it from his point of view. Lazy lazy sloppy. Clara cries for a bit then gets on with shopping and cooking and generally being an over-privileged airhead. She vaguely wonders where it all went wrong but ploughs no deeper for an answer than airy wonderings. And we are supposed to find her appealing and believable? Not for me.

Shall never read another word this author writes!
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10 of 10 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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not great, 3 Jan. 2011
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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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29 of 30 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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13 of 13 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly Horrible...., 7 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Comfort and Joy (Paperback)
As the other reviewers I have been a great fan of India Knight's previous novels and columns. I really enjoyed 'Life on a Plate' and was so excited to see this follow on a decade on. Oh the disappointment! Having read 'Life..' I knew it was be upper middle class and london-centic. Previously, this had been nicely handled and made for a nice bit of escapism. There is little comfort or joy in her new offering. I thought it was only me! It is spiteful, snobbish and breathtakingly vile. I battled thought as I thought Clara, the protagist, may be on course to a nervous breakdown which, in part, could forgive the rabid, hateful 'soundbites'. I am so sad, as I really wanted to enjoy it. So much did I hate this book, I have put it straight into the recycling as I actually don't want to subject anyone else to reading it.
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Comfort and Joy
Comfort and Joy by India Knight (Unknown Binding - 27 Sept. 2011)
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