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4.1 out of 5 stars43
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2000
Just like the heroine Catherine has her favourite book (Emma), to which she turns in times of trouble, I have Brother of the More Famous Jack.
Read her later books to rediscover some of the characters in older manifestations.
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on 25 March 2011
I first read this book about 15 years ago. It has to be one of my favourite books of all time. The characters, Catherine, Roger, Jonathon, Jacob and Jane are real people to me - and when I re-read the book, I'm sad all over again when it ends. Maybe because I was a slightly 'blue stocking' teenager, and wanted to go to Oxford to read English, and maybe because I wanted to meet a family like Jane and Jacob, they stayed really alive for me.

It's a slight book - too short really - but the characters and story sweep us through about 10 years, and personal ups and downs of the heroine Katherine. She starts out as a teenager, and ends 10 years later as - well that would give the story away, wouldn't it.

The characters are well-drawn, humourous and warm. It's a funny book, but sad too. I'm amazed, reading other's reviews, that so many people really don't like it. Anyway, I would give it six stars if I could. Highly reccomended.
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on 26 June 2011
I loved this book. I'm only sorry that I didn't read it when it was first published as I've missed some 15 years of re-reads.
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on 3 September 2013
Trapido is a clever and amusing writer. Each of her books cannot fail to please. I have read everything she has written for my own pleasure or within a book club. Everyone enjoys her writing and her stories have a depth and structure with engaging characters which hold the reader beyond the book club glass of fizz..
Read them all. That's my advice!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 February 2013
Winner of the Whitbread Special Prize for Fiction in 1982, I am trying to figure out how I missed this at the time. I loved this book from the moment I opened it and read of the unorthodox Philosophy tutor Jacob Goldman interviewing Katherine for a place at his Oxford college. As she says about Jacob he identified somewhat with trouble makers "having, I discovered much later, come before a kindly magistrate once in the course of a troubled youth. The magistrate's Toryism had taught Jacob, I think - with Toryism and other forms of villainy, to hate the sin and not the sinner. A thing he was very good at."

That's enough of the politics I thought, and so it proved. This book is about love, most of all, familial and sensual, and is the story of how Katherine becomes a favourite with all of the Goldman family, first of all in thrall to the beauty of the eldest son, Roger, and after he has rejected her, the younger one, Jonathan, with a protracted period of infatuation with a married man in Rome in between. She is a particular favourite with Jane, Jacob's wife, who is a kind of beautiful earth-mother, with several other children and a friend, John, who is bi-sexual and casually deflowers Katherine a couple of days after having brought her to the Goldman's home, little knowing that she has already met Jacob at the University interview.

Well, every book is surely allowed at least one coincidence, especially if it's a happy one. The book quickly moves on to Katherine's infatuation with Roger. His rejection of her is cruel and pompous and she decides to teach English in Rome, meeting her match with the extraordinary Michele. Later we get the entirely engrossing story of Katherine and Jonathan when she moves back to London.

I absolutely loved this book, it is entirely wonderful and moving without once resorting to any kind of melodrama or sentiment, though a lesser book might have resorted to it because of the moments of heartbreak and reversal. This book is entirely splendid from beginning to end.
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on 28 February 2013
Everything about this book was good. The warm-hearted, teasing, well-educated fabulous Goldman family. I loved them all. Trapido has such a wide inventive range and I can't get enough of her writing. At the outset a question mark hung over the title and kept me guessing: who was Jack?; I think I've solved it but I'm not telling!
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on 18 March 2015
Loved it!!
I laughed, I cried but enjoyed every word
I hadn't heard of this author before but will certainly read more of her work.
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on 4 January 2014
Enjoyable read - well-written, with a charming story - if a little disappointingly predictable at times. A good book for the beach.
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on 19 May 2013
This book took me ages to get into. I found it very unremarkable and wouldn't bother to read any other of Trapido's books.
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on 30 December 2013
Having read the sequel ages ago, I am revisiting old favourites and have just rediscovered the delights of early Trapido.
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