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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing as always, but surprisingly mean in places
I'd had 'Mutton' on pre-order for months so was thrilled when it popped up on my Kindle this week (and yes, my Kindle download worked fine thanks).

It was an amusing read as always, and as sharply observed as ever, but I was left feeling that our heroine, Clindia (lets call her that, shall we, as Clara and India are clearly the same person), seems to have...
Published on 2 Dec 2012 by Book-addicted

versus
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Baffled
I was really looking forward to this book - I like reading India Knight's column, enjoy her on twitter and have read some of her other books - but this book left me really baffled. Given the title and a couple of media reviews I assumed it was a light hearted take on reaching middle age and the ongoing quest for some to hold on to youth and it did indeed start off like...
Published 23 months ago by A. Lindsay


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Baffled, 8 Jan 2013
By 
A. Lindsay - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
I was really looking forward to this book - I like reading India Knight's column, enjoy her on twitter and have read some of her other books - but this book left me really baffled. Given the title and a couple of media reviews I assumed it was a light hearted take on reaching middle age and the ongoing quest for some to hold on to youth and it did indeed start off like that - funny and sharp - but then seemed to completely veer off course and become something else entirely. It may well be that I just didn't 'get it' and missed the point through my own fault. I have even wondered whether my book didn't download properly and there were a few chapters missing but Mutton seemed to shift focus from Clara and mid-life to another character's fantasy novels. The frequent references to language or characters from those novels was a tad irritating for me and dominated the end of the book so much that I was left wondering whether the author herself became bored with the initial subject.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to love it but couldn't., 11 Dec 2012
By 
Savannah D (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
I am a big fan of India Knight's journalism, she usually comes across as an intelligent, warm hearted soul. Not so in this novel; a horrible character assassination of middle aged women where the only crime for a woman is to be over the age of 45. It was such a depressing and soul destroying read, that I could not finish the book for fear of slashing my wrists. It was cruel, vindictive, downright nasty in places. India Knight has her own issues with ageing, she doesn't rise above the parapet to offer us any new insight, she simply falls in line with what most sexist males think about older women. So what if the main character has a natural sex drive? In this book she is portrayed as desperate, sad and unattractive simply because of her age. Age is something we can do nothing about. So why not offer an enlightened approach, instead of this miserable self deprecating downward spiralling attitude to life?

Thanks to the media and films, older women already punish themselves enough for being middle aged, and feel unattractive if men are not falling at their feet. Middle aged men, on the other hand, are encouraged to hunt for women in their twenties and still think they're drop dead gorgeous. Instead of leading the way for a radical revolution, to empower women's thinking, or to contribute anything original to the subject, Knight lays into herself and other middle aged women, in a mocking, cruel manner, which serves only to further humiliate women and damage the feminist cause.

Sad, because I expected more.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars an extended version of the Sunday Times column, 8 Jan 2013
By 
emu_b "emu_b" (brisbane, australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
India Knight writes very good non-fiction and comes across as a funny and feisty woman - I've been known to buy the Sunday Times just to read her column. But as a writer of fiction, she falls short. This story comes across as a very thinly veiled autobiography of Ms Knight with some minor fictitious points to the weak plot. The main character Clara is a similarly slightly overweight similarly middle-aged woman with a similar family set-up (several previous husbands/partners, all of whom she continues to get along with very well, and children of the same gender distribution and roughly the same age as Ms Knight's own children) who, like Ms Knight, enjoys cheese to the exclusion of chocolate, and who expresses very similar political and social views to those we've heard Ms Knight express in her column over the last many years. And therein lies the problem - we've heard this all before. So there is very little novelty and zero character development. Even her friend Gaby shows herself to be the person we knew she was going to turn out to be from the moment she appears on the scene (gosh - she's really thin and has had lots of plastic surgery in part because she's miserable after her husband left her for a younger woman, and - gosh, even more surprisingly - she's not childless by choice but in fact desperate to have a baby....). The cliches continue. Even the word choices are repetitive. Yes, India, we know 'nonplussed' means taken aback; in this short book, this word appears more than perhaps was strictly necessary...
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mutton, 8 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
What a disapointment, being of a certain age myself I was expecting a tongue in cheek belly laugh of a read. I would not say that it was tragic however it felt disjointed like several author's had contributed to it.
Not for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One of the most forgettable books I've read this year, 6 Nov 2013
This review is from: Mutton (Paperback)
Following one of Clara's remarks from the book, namely that "bluntness is the best solution: there seems so little point in shilly-shallying about with announcements" let me get right to the point: Mutton was a huge disappointment. Being in my mid-twenties I might not be the book's ideal target audience but that doesn't alter the fact that the book is miles away from being hilarious (as it's supposed to be) and if this really is an accurate portrayal of women in their forties (I highly doubt it) then it's even more depressing than I thought.

I wasn't familiar with Knight's books before I picked Mutton up but I've always enjoyed books with a similar subject matter. I read Sue Townsend's The Public Confessions of a Middle-Aged Woman when I was in my late teens (again, I was hardly the right target audience and yet...) and it's been one of my favourite novels ever since. It had me crying with laughter, which was definitely not the case here.

I suppose the biggest problem here is that almost every aspect of the book is just... `meh', and there's nothing that would make up for the lack of wit or accuracy. Clara - the main character and narrator - isn't particularly amusing or interesting. Gaby is downright irritating, to the point where you just want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. Right until the end - when a famous writer is thrown into the crazy world of the two women and the book gets mildly entertaining for about twenty pages - there isn't much of a storyline either (apart from Clara's dilemma about having Botox).

I really wanted to enjoy this one but it didn't work for me at all. It's dull, unrealistic and sadly - harsh as it may sound - one of the most forgettable books I've read this year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother!, 9 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Mutton (Kindle Edition)
This book was dreadful - I had read mixed reviews but wanted to give India Knight and try and wished I hadn't. The main character was clearly Knight herself and she came across as unloveable and unbelievable. The 'story' was very depressing and basically felt you were written off by the time you get to your mid-forties. It was a depressing read and not enjoyable at all. Sorry for the poor review.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clunky, rushed and unconvincing, 21 Dec 2012
This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
I approached this book with some trepidation as the Clara in Comfort and Joy was such an insufferable, snobby, nasty monster of a character but I hoped that India Knight would have toned down the obnoxiousness of her protagonist and yes, she has a little. However, Clara is still quite a judgemental, sneery sort and it's these traits that makes this book somewhat hard to get through. The woefully written mother-in-law character of Pat isn't in this novel but of course Clara finds new people to sneer at, including one of her best friends. Try this opinion from half way through when Clara talks about cougars (the best friend is one) - "They're not sexy felines, they're maladjusted oddbods who can't interact with normal adults that they have to pick on children". Jaw-dropping. Clara looks down on absolutely everyone...must be quite exhausting to be someone like that. It's certainly tiring reading about it. Worse, is that this isn't really an effective novel in that there's no substantial characters, there's too much overlong tract-like prose and the characters occasionally speak in protracted and artificial speeches that real people very seldom too. The plot is slender and just not compelling, culminating in a Rockwellian portrait that I didn't believe in. Mutton finishes on less than 250 pages - I thought the general lack of conviction and effort throughout came across loud and clear and that the book's length is one indication of this. It's also as funny as having a tooth extracted.

And yet it's readable to a degree in that measured and accessible style of India's and some of the musings on ageing are sharply perceptive as I expected. I didn't entertain the thought of not finishing this book. But the content just doesn't hang together as a successful novel, really.

Typing this upstairs in the library, where I returned this just now (aren't you relieved we still have them...?). I feel that the author should either retire Clara or just not bother with any further novels.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull and mean-spirited, 16 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Mutton (Kindle Edition)
It's weird, I love India Knight's non-fiction and keep buying her novels in the hope that they'll be equally warm and charming. I'm always disappointed, there's never much of a storyline and the character of Clara is awful, a vain, judgemental snob with no loyalty to anyone. An undemanding read but not worth re-visiting.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing as always, but surprisingly mean in places, 2 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Mutton (Hardcover)
I'd had 'Mutton' on pre-order for months so was thrilled when it popped up on my Kindle this week (and yes, my Kindle download worked fine thanks).

It was an amusing read as always, and as sharply observed as ever, but I was left feeling that our heroine, Clindia (lets call her that, shall we, as Clara and India are clearly the same person), seems to have missed the point of what she could learn from this story.

Clindia dear, if you're still wondering by the final chapters which audience you're trying to make fancy you at forty-something, here's a thought: learn to fancy yourself. Look in the mirror and do what you need to do to find yourself hot. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, whether the builders fancy the same thing, whether it takes a tea dress or a mini skirt, botox or a balconette bra - just learn to find yourself genuinely sexy. Look to your internal hottie compass, not an outside one. Then the rest of the world will find you fanciable and shaggable, if you're bothered about that - but more importantly you will feel deeply and juicily good about yourself. Which is the point.

Also, I was amazed at Clindia's outright hatred of women who sleep with men younger than themselves. "I wold literally rather die than be some sad sack who thinks it's an achievement to sleep with people young enough to be your children". Really? Seriously? Literally die? Relationship desperation of any kind is unappealing regardless of the relative age of the people involved, but this degree of venom points to some kind of personal issue surely. It was a nasty snipe (that comes up several times) in this good story.

Incidentally I'm one of the (growing) number of women who is ridiculously happily married to a much younger man - we make up a larger portion of your reading demographic than you seem to realise. And I'd never had guessed you'd been addicted to Game of Thrones ;-)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 20 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Mutton (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed the previous books very much, they were entertaining and fun. This one has left me a bit puzzled about what she was trying to achieve. The characters are not likeable or believable, and there are long passages about cosmetic surgery which just don't go anywhere. I really wanted to like it, because I think India is a writer with something to say, but this isn't what I want to hear. The cover art is lovely though.
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Mutton
Mutton by India Knight (Paperback - 1 Aug 2013)
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