Customer Reviews


10 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Personality
I really enjoyed this book. At the centre of the story is a child singer propelled into stardom via a talent show and her decline into mental illness. Her decline is as a result of the pressures of fame and the politics and secrets of her dysfunctional family. Her family's problems are themselves understood in the context of bigger issues such as war and immigration. This...
Published on 3 July 2012 by A. R. Wilkinson

versus
14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Distinct lack of personality
When Andrew O'Hagan steps up to collect his Booker prize for this novel later in the year, it will be more of a statement about the predictablility of the Booker than of the excellence of O'Hagan's novel. Cloyingly sentimental, with the same familiar O'Hagan glib working-class characatures (he must have really hated those guys he grew up with), this is a mercifully quick...
Published on 25 Mar 2003


Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Personality, 3 July 2012
By 
A. R. Wilkinson (Somewhere in the North of England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Personality (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. At the centre of the story is a child singer propelled into stardom via a talent show and her decline into mental illness. Her decline is as a result of the pressures of fame and the politics and secrets of her dysfunctional family. Her family's problems are themselves understood in the context of bigger issues such as war and immigration. This is as much a saga of the Scots-Italian family across generations as it is the focal character of Maria. O"Hagan writes beautifully and really captures the 70s zeitgeist. The characters are well-rounded and credible. He adopts multiple viewpoints (third person, a number of first person accounts) plus some script and epistolary techniques. However, this is neither confusing nor pretentious.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of British, 9 July 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Personality (Paperback)
Andrew O'Hagan's 'Personality' is a fine, beautifully-written novel, which firmly cements the author's place among the best of young British writers. Among other things, it's a meditation on the meaning and nature of identities (national, local, sexual, personal) and celebrity, themes the author addresses through the biography of Maria Tambini, a Scots-Italian child star of the 1970s and 1980s clearly (and for me, a bit troublingly) modelled on the real-life Lena Zavaroni. O'Hagan convincingly evokes a variety of social and familial settings -- he must have done wonders for the Isle of Bute tourist trade -- and makes us care for his characters, some of whom (such as Hughie Green, Dean Martin, Princess Diana,Les Dawson)are taken from 'real' life. He has a great ear for Scottish vernacular speech, and he uses this ability to draw the reader into scenes of apparent sentimentality (a Scottish trait, to be sure), but where pain, violence (of one kind or another) and horror are never far away. At times, his depiction of the tribulations of the Tambini women is so painful, you have to put the book down and catch your breath. Otherwise, the book is unputdownable. The reviewer who found it boring would be better off, perhaps, sticking to Tom Clancy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personality - couldn't put it down, 14 April 2004
By 
Sharon Brown (Worthing, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Personality (Paperback)
When I pickd up this book I had no idea how engrossing it would become.
The story of the main character Maria being spotted at a local talent show and being whisked off in to the world of showbiz was very realistic and an emotional ride. For a man to write so emphaticaly about a young girl struggling with anorexia was amazing and not at all maudlin.
There is no doubt that this story was based on the life of Lena Zavaroni in all but name and outcome which made it all the more compulsive.
A brilliant book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 6 April 2003
This review is from: Personality (Hardcover)
This book is extraordinary. On the surface it tells the story of a young girl, a child star not a million miles away from the late Lena Zavaroni, and I must confess this is why I bought the book. I'm of the generation that used to sit and watch Opportunity Knocks and I think all of us were fascinated, and later shocked, by what happened to Lena.
There's a lot of Lena in this book: we meet a young girl called Maria Tambini, who could, superficially, be her double. What O'Hagan does, though, is surround her with an invented and brilliantly realised family, set of circumstances, and past, with such amazing attention to detail and emotional acuity that very quickly into the book, you find yourself thinking that this isn't 'about' Lena Zavaroni at all -- it's about three generations of women and their secrets and lies, it's about love and redemption, and it's about O'Hagan's stunning talent for ventriloquy: the book is told is different voices, all of which are separate but add up to a cohesive and devastating whole.
I read his previous, Booker-shortlisted novel Our Fathers when it came out a few years ago and although I was impressed by the writing, the book was too dense and demoralising for me. This is different. The writing is still dazzling, there isn't one duff sentence, but it's also a proper page-turner and much more accessible. I think it's remarkable that a man could write about women like this. This book should come with one of those money-back guarantee stickers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Starter Then Completely Gripping, 11 Jun 2006
By 
Smith (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Personality (Paperback)
At first I found this novel difficult to focus on - the start simply didn't interest me. However, by the start of part two, I was hooked. The writing was top quality and the variety of techniques kept the book interesting. As I read about the lives of the different characters, I found myself desperate to know more about them. The ending was filled with hope after the horrific events of Maria's life during her period of fame, which was great because I grew to love the characters within the novel and part of me would have been gravely disappointed had they not of resolved even a few of their issues.

Overall, great book. Just be patient and keep at it if, like me, you find the beginning unappealing - it does get better!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 13 May 2003
This review is from: Personality (Hardcover)
This is an extraordinary book. Much more accessible and more of a page-turner than O'Hagan's previous, Booker-listed Our Fathers, it tells the stories of three generations of women. I bought it thinking it was 'about' a child star with an eating disorder, but this is only partly right -- really, it's about the big universal things, like love, faith and family. The bits about fame, which are brilliant and convincingly chilling, are almost incidental. Parts of Personality are tragic, parts of it are highly comic, and all of it is exquisitely written. This may sound mad, but if I hadn't seen pictures of O'Hagan, I'd think he was a woman with a male pen-name: it seems amazing that a man can get under the skin of three very different women this extent. I devoured (if that's the right word) this book, and it will stay with me for a long time. My favourite book over the past year or so was The Corrections -- this is even better. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of fiction and fact, 30 May 2003
By 
Jeff Paffett (Molyvos, Lesvos Greece) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Personality (Hardcover)
Having read 2 extracts from this book in Granta: 'You, the viewers at home.' and 'Gas Boys Gas' I was intrigued to find out how the 2 extracts belonged in the same book!
There are some beautifully written passages in this book, many of which stand up on their own merits. O'Hagan slowly develops his characters and reveals the events that have led to the many tensions in the Tambini family.
The obvious and deliberate parallels with the story of Lena Zavaroni are well handled and real life characters and events are skillfully woven into the text. O'Hagan keeps the surprises and tension going right to the end of the story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Distinct lack of personality, 25 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Personality (Hardcover)
When Andrew O'Hagan steps up to collect his Booker prize for this novel later in the year, it will be more of a statement about the predictablility of the Booker than of the excellence of O'Hagan's novel. Cloyingly sentimental, with the same familiar O'Hagan glib working-class characatures (he must have really hated those guys he grew up with), this is a mercifully quick read, but also an entirely forgettable one. Chip-shops, quick-tempered fathers, dirty-knees, the distant chime of an ice-cream van - it's Her Benny with a soundtrack and a clapometer. You can almost hear Channel Four films or Stephen Frears rushing to pick up the script.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disapponting in the extreme, 15 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Personality (Paperback)
Turgid. I found it hard to turn from page to page, let alone stop turning. Picked it up it because I'd seen his name all over the place, mentioned favourably: bad move. He must be connected to the literati, because this is dire. Nothing new here; slightly ludicrous scenario hand-wringingly played out. He seems to simply take 'Big (commercial)Themes" - his last book was just a novel-rehash of the Fred West killings and disappearences - and give 'em right back to you, rendered lifeless and dull. Pointless.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too writerly, not enough emotional punch, 8 Sep 2003
By 
This review is from: Personality (Hardcover)
Can this book really be worthy of a Booker Prize? I don't think so. While O'Hagan obviously writes well --- and there passages that really engage and make us care about the poor Lena Zavaroni look-alike --- the book suffers from a surfeit of literary touches and not enough emotional whallop. We never really figure out why the poor girl stops eating or why her mother is the way she is. Now, I'm not a reader who needs a roadmap to find character development. I just think this was way too over written ---- stripped of anything extraneous, including even the slightest bit of psychological depth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Personality
Personality by Andrew O'Hagan (Paperback - 1 April 2004)
5.80
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews