Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
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


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well-written
Raffaella Barker is an excellent writer and creates an amazing sense of character and place. She has a memory for those seemingly insignificant details that are really so telling, and that weave together to make a recreation of childhood and adolescence. Although frequently funny and sometimes hysterically so, this book seems also to be kind of tinged with sadness too...
Published on 14 Jan 2003 by Laura Lee Browne

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Bohemia
Since this was Raffaella Barker's first published book, you shouldn't expect the sophisticated storytelling of "Green Grass" or "Hens Dancing". However, her prose is good and her touch is light, and if you like stories of big families living hand to mouth, then this is definitely for you. I would recommend it as an 'Underground' book: the chapters are short and sweet and...
Published on 3 Feb 2007 by Star_Sea


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tales of Bohemia, 3 Feb 2007
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
Since this was Raffaella Barker's first published book, you shouldn't expect the sophisticated storytelling of "Green Grass" or "Hens Dancing". However, her prose is good and her touch is light, and if you like stories of big families living hand to mouth, then this is definitely for you. I would recommend it as an 'Underground' book: the chapters are short and sweet and perfect for the short journeys between stops.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well-written, 14 Jan 2003
Raffaella Barker is an excellent writer and creates an amazing sense of character and place. She has a memory for those seemingly insignificant details that are really so telling, and that weave together to make a recreation of childhood and adolescence. Although frequently funny and sometimes hysterically so, this book seems also to be kind of tinged with sadness too. Worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vera Perkins, 9 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this book to bits - funny, eccentric and evocative - a real comfort blanket. I read it often.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories of a Bohemian Childhood, 17 Sep 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Raffaella Barker's first novel is a fictionalized account of her childhood in Norfolk, where she lived until her late teens with her poet father, teacher mother (who later became a novelist) and four siblings. Raffaella, the oldest of the children, is loosely disguised in the book as the narrator, Gabriella (rather irritatingly called 'Va Va' by her siblings), while George Barker is renamed Patrick Lincoln. Rather than tell her story chronologically, Barker gives us a number of vignettes of Gabriella's bohemian childhood in rural Norfolk, and Gabriella's life as a young woman in London. A basic chronology is maintained by Barker beginning the novel with Gabriella's birth and ending some 24 years later with Patrick's death. Otherwise the novel dots around in time, from Gabriella's eleven-plus exam to her early days in London, back to memories of childhood and on to teenage parties. This 'snapshot' technique is readable and enjoyable if at times a little confusing.

I enjoyed the book hugely for the depictions of Norfolk and for the vast cast of eccentric characters. Patrick is a particularly fine creation, with his 'drinking room' and his elaborate statements: 'Dearest, do not let these bambini disturb me when I am in my cups' and the like; with his love of Italy, wrestling, books and old cars and his quite splendid rudeness when bored. Eleanor, a former Classics scholar who wears a blonde wig when she drives a car to hide the fact that she hasn't yet passed her test and is thus driving illegally, and who bakes hot cross buns in the oven and forgets about them so they become charcoal, is also very memorable, and there are some vivid cameo portraits, including Barker's long-term mistress Elizabeth Smart, fictionalized as 'Liza'. There are some amusing scenes with the children, though I found the constant use of nicknames at times a little irritating, and Barker brought the whole crazy bohemian nature of the Lincoln family very well to life. For me, the main problem with the book was that the narrator, Gabriella, never quite came to life. I never got much of an insight into how she felt about her family, and how her relationship with her parents changed as she gets older, and her actions at times, such as refusing to work at A Levels, sulking at her parents and (being me, I was particularly outraged at this) sending her cats back to Norfolk from London unchaperoned made her seem a bit of a spoilt brat. Maybe Barker didn't want to reveal too much about herself in the book, and so used Gabriella more as a 'recording narrator' than as the novel's protagonist, but I would have liked to have known more about her. I felt that I never saw Gabriella's more vulnerable side or got to know anything about her life ambitions, what she really cared about (apart from her pony when she was a child, and clothes) or if she minded much that her family was so different to everyone else. Neither did the other Lincoln siblings really come to life as human beings - they all seemed incredibly robust, with no anxieties or self-doubt. This stops me giving the novel five stars but I would still recommend it as a hilarious (and short!) chronicle of a very unusual childhood.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the life of a poet's daughter, 4 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This is beautifully written, imaginative account of growing up, narrated by Gabriella, the daughter of an English poet. It tells of "The myths of my family, favourite fables told again and again, brought out like battered photographs, nostagia-scented and made alive by scrambled memory...fairy-tales, fantasies grown from a seed of truth". Colourful memories of her Norfolk childhood with all her brothers and animals are poured out for us to paint the picture of a wild and bohemian family. At turns both funny and meloncholy, this is a wonderful book that gives us telling glimpses into the real lives of Patrick Barker and his literary family.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing really, 6 Jun 2003
By 
Mrs Colette Morris (Peterborough, Cambs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I really enjoyed Hens Dancing, but this was nowhere near the standard of that.
It felt strangely disjointed, and I couldn't quite grasp the story - it just felt like a collection of memories. I found it hard to stay interested - I kept getting lost and having to retrace to find out who was who and what had happened to them.
Not totally disastrous, as despite the above it was an okay read, but I wouldn't recommend it. Hens Dancing is a different league - a million times better.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing., 8 July 2014
Yes, please do come and tell me some lies rather than drone on about a few historical family anecdotes in an upper middle class world. I was so hoping that this book was going to be a great read after some very good reviews but I could not read it from start to finish; I could not piece together any story as such and found it to be a disjointed patchwork of the author's upbringing centred around her famous poet father. The prose was so dull that I found it hard to visualise the scenes. As it was Ms Barker's first novel, hopefully its successors are better.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Love this author's work, 12 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved reading this from the local library, so I decided to get a copy for myself, book came in excellent condition and I would purchase from this seller again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only if warm fuzzies is your thing ....., 28 Nov 2000
By A Customer
I hated it. One of my closest friends said that it was the best book she had read in the summer, that it detailed the cosy and affectionate life of a bohemian family and the daughter Gabriella's struggle to bring some order and conventionality into her life. Instead I was bored to tears. I only managed to finish it because it was 200-odd pages with relatively large line spacing. The characters are vacuous and their lives are dream-like discord, quaint even. There is nothing in Gabriella's life to illicit frustration, sadness, elation. This is a typical scene - father turns up at the last minute and tells Gabriella to get hold of her passport and pack her things. They are going to Rome. He has been invited to read at a poetry festival. The next two pages pack in neo-classical glee, sunset poetry and dinner with a blind hook-nosed poet. All lovely lovely la la la. Well, if you like that sort of thing .....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Come and Tell Me Some Lies
Come and Tell Me Some Lies by Raffaella Barker (Paperback - 6 July 2000)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews