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57 Reviews
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a moving, funny and page turning book
This book has had incredible reviews, and rightly so. It is a moving account of a family's attempts to come to terms with the fact that their eldest daughter, the golden girl of the family, has been imprisoned for an art theft. We get all five members of the family's point of view, and it ends with an astonishing scene when they are finally re-united. One critic, and I...
Published on 3 May 2005

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated - Don't believe the hype
I was so, so disappointed by this book, the reviews and online recommendations, had built my hopes up quite high.
But the book, was dull, laborious and tedious to read.
I've read better about family reactions, from different view points etc. Some of the characters were particularly unlikable, and it was very much written from a male view point. As a female,...
Published on 22 Jun 2005 by Book Worm


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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and satisfying read, 14 Jun 2005
By 
Ms. P. Lee "pippa" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was put off by the subject matter for this book as well as the boring cover. How wrong I was. A book full of likeable and warm characters, all of which I could relate to in one way or another. A simple story, wonderully told. My only complaint is the dialogue the author uses for the younger members of the family - not all young people use the word "like" in, like, every single sentence!!!! Thoroughly recommended.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing much happened, 25 Aug 2007
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In my opinion this book lacked any real depth to any of the characters. I can see that most reviewers here thought the same.

I didn't think that the book made any particular point and came to no particular conclusion. In lots of ways I found it all pretty bland. JuJu, to me, did not come across as the supposedly beautiful and brilliant person it was suggested that she was at the beginning of the book. Also I didn't particularly get any sense of the strong favouritism or feeling that her father idolised her through any dialogue.

As for Charles, he just came across as a sad disillusioned old man. Maybe that was the point! In anycase, I thought by the end of the book that I had not got anything much out of reading the book. There was no food for thought at all in this book.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad that it's....well, just really bad., 14 May 2010
This book is deeply flawed. It's failings are too numerous to list, but the jarring, unrealistic dialogue is my main bugbear. People don't use each other's names over and over again during the course of a normal conversation: "Charlie, do you think..." "Yes Ju-Ju, I do...", "Charlie, really", "Ju-Ju, honestly", "Come on Charlie", "Coming Ju-Ju". That's not ad verbatim, but the dialogue really is that excruciating and unconvincing. The author has also tossed in numerous "like"s in an attempt to capture the way young people speak - but he's put them in entirely the wrong places. Sounds silly, but there is a natural fluidity to where people insert these unnecessary "like"s, yet the author has missed that entirely.

There are also several discrepancies in the plot itself, where the story as narrated by the various characters contradicts itself, not in terms of perspective (which would be understandable) but in fact, such as a pregnancy twenty three years ago that has resulted in an eleven year old child - that's some gestation period.

I actually found the book uncomfortable to read, so poorly was it written, and I cannot fathom why anybody would chose to publish it.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Irritatingly poor, 11 Jan 2010
One of the most boring, pointless books I have read (although I must confess I skimmed the last few chapters). It neither entertains nor informs. It gives a detailed account of the reactions of the Judd family to JoJo's Judd's imprisonment and release. The characters are neither typical nor convincing but are faintly sordid- JoJo's father Charles urinates in churchyards and she and her brother share a double bed on her release. The prose is poor and pretentious and often irritating e.g. frequent switching of grammatical person. The dialogue is stilted. I could go on and on detailing this book's faults. Frankly I too am somewhat surprised that anyone could enjoy this book. I keep books that I care for and others usually go to a charity shop. This one is headed for the wood burner
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too true, 24 Mar 2007
I am writing under false pretenses because I haven't yet finished the book and may end up writing things I regret. However if I do, I'll live.

In the past I have always evaluated a book by - among other things - how believable it is. The really scary thing is, though, that a writer, or indeed an actor or a director, can make you believe anything. I don't think there need be a talent for story telling involved. I believe everything Justin Cartwright says in this novel and, yet, who are these people if not archetypes of postmodern discontent, and horridly cynical ones at that? I mean on the part of Cartwright, not the characters. Who exactly is Ju-ju? I know that the other characters are supposed to love her unconditionally and unreservedly, but surely Sophie is too clever and Dorothy is too put upon and filled with dashed hope not to resent her just a little? I believe in these last two characters so much that I want to take them out of this novel and place them somewhere more worthy of their humanity. As for Ju-ju, I know nothing about her other than that she's beautiful and talented and has been profoundly affected by her time in jail, and I am trying to think what else. The same can be said of Charles. Is he a good man or a horribly selfish and neglectful man? Does he love his wife or does he find her irritating and his intellectual inferior? Maybe he is all these things and I miss the point by trying to define him too neatly. My problem is that I think Cartwright rather likes him and is trying to get his readership to like him too. While I feel I should find him complex, I simply want to slap him. Also, I know that a lot of people say "like" in every other sentence. I do it. However, for this to be relayed back to me so convincingly in the form of Sophie and Charlie, while it may show what an astute Cartwright is, is a cynical and unfeeling evocation of the nature of intercourse between the young. It is noticable that the angel Ju-ju is above such imperfections of gramar. Families can be happy. Unfulilled hopes and dreams are a natural part of the human condition and can co-exist with happiness. This is a very believable novel, and all the more depressing for it.
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14 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Middle class baby boomers heaven, 14 Feb 2005
If you are a middle class proffessional and have been to cornwall for your holidays then this is your book. Wonderfully observant and full of wry subtle observations on the joys and sorrows of family life it still allows us time to reflect on the reality of the shallow lives we lead. Definately in my top ten.
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9 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic bok, 17 Mar 2006
By 
Sancho Mahle (Charlotte, USA) - See all my reviews
This book is absolutely fantastic book. You will find that just a few pages into the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it all the way through and won't hesitate to recommend it.It gave me a a unique insight into life.One thing for sure is that the story touched me a great deal. Like THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES,GILEAD, UNION MOUJIK, AND RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, the beautiful characters and plot of THE PROMISE OF HAPPNIESS will definitetly makes it a book to remember.
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The Promise of Happiness
The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright (Paperback - 19 April 2010)
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