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251 Reviews
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dysfunctional families from 21st century gothic Homes.
An outstanding year for new literary fiction culminates for me in a book of quite astonishing bravery, audacity and hilariously grim satire. Can this really be the state of the middle-class nuclear family in the US today? A. M. Homes seems to be saying that it is. This book is a disturbing read; it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But it is definitely for anyone...
Published 19 months ago by Sue Kichenside

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give up
I've kept with it for the first quarter of this book in the hope it was heading somewhere, but now I don't even care where its heading.
Every single character is entirely unpleasant, acerbic and rude. I'd hate to think what's given the author such a depressing view of people.
Published 5 months ago by Gary Docherty


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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gave up with 100 pages to go, 13 Feb 2014
This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
I quite enjoyed Homes last novel; this book will save your life and I found the first 50 pages of this novel equally as interesting. From then on, well I'm still working out how to go about claiming back all those wasted hours I spent ploughing through the rest. There's a plot in there somewhere but boy, does it go on and on and on. Does Home contract state that her first draft is the only draft that will be published because this book could do with losing 200 pages of rambling nothingness. It lacks structure, plot and any strong characterisation. How it won awards I do not know.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So much promise leading to nothing., 28 Aug 2013
By 
G. Howe (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
This starts off incredibly well, at a racing pace and full of dark humour and poignant moments. Then it very very slowly gets more and more dull and laboured until I gave up two thirds of the way through. Such a pity, it needed a script editor armed with a massive axe to cut it by at least a third.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rambling book, 27 Aug 2013
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I was disappointed in this. I had heard and read good things about the book but I found it never ending. The story doesn't take you anywhere and just seems to move from one unbelievable scenario to the next. I didn't actually like any of the characters either so could not really empathise with them.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Proceed with caution, 7 July 2013
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I decided to check out the writer upon her winning a fiction prize out of a strong shortlist. I read the Kindle sample and was compelled to purchase the title almost immediately, based on the magnificient and highly original start. Up to about the middle I enjoyed the black humour, the visceral punch (normally I would find it distressing, but I accepted the plot precisely because of the black humour) the power of observation of American life, the vivid characterisation of the protagonists, the 'Jewish humour'.

Then something happens and the novel becomes a feel-good bore. Not that some scenes are not superbly drawn, but A M Homes changes tack and direction and never really comes back. Up till the last moment I waited for the dark undertones to return, perhaps to warn the reader that things are never so 'good', but nothing happens except everything melts into redemption and reconciliation in suburbia, as per the title. To me, this is inconsistent and she has written two books here, the second of which I do not care for as much as the first.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gave in to the hype, wish I'd waited a year, 8 Aug 2013
This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
Harry is the older brother of the bullying, violent, egotistical TV executive George and the book opens as he and his Asian wife (the first of the sickening borderline racist stereotypes) are visiting his house for Thanksgiving. And from there on in it all goes wrong. In the first 50 pages we're presented with an amazing series of events culminating in tragedy that affects everyone around them. No matter how hard Harry tries to make amends for his 'bad deed' he's constantly either screwing it up, or just adding to his woes. The problem is, Harry is such a child that in the beginning, his inability to grow up hampers everything, resulting in a spiral towards internet hook-ups for sex, picking up a very strange girl and taking her home...for sex (for such a loser, Harry does get around a bit) and then there's the self-medicating anything and everything he can get his hands on, causing a major health alert in the first half of the book.

But eventually, the responsibility he is forced to take on in the form of his niece and nephew, give Harry a massive wake-up call and he starts to face up to what he's done and his journey to redemption begins.
It's a long journey too, during which his work as a Nixon scholar and author takes him closer to the disgraced President than he thought he would get. His re-evaluation of Nixon causes Harry to also look at his own life, work and what he actually needs in this World as opposed to what the American Dream is telling him he needs. Sometimes the Nixon analogies get in the way and Homes lays the satire on a bit thick. It's also annoying as that sub-plot means another showing for the clipped Asian accents-I'm all for realism, but when it's used to voice a character who was born in the US, achieved a high standard of education and is hired to work with the printed word, it's lazy and leaves a nasty taste in the mouth as you read it.
When it comes to the supporting characters, several are definitely surplus to requirements, as are a few of the bizarre scenarios that Harry finds himself involved in (and readers will know exactly what I mean when I say 'The Woodsman'...why Homes...why?) and I felt this dragged the narrative about Harry's journey down. Also, for a novel so grounded in the harsh realities of life (no matter how daft, they do happen) the two instances of 'magic' jar and are out of place; whilst one is an understandable metaphorical narrative device, the other is forced.

As a commentary on all that's wrong with the Western world, it works well: can't solve your problems-take medication, the key to happiness is a massive tv, elderly and those with mental health problems either locked away and forgotten about or treated like lab rats, the threat of bad publicity worse than the welfare of an 11 yr old girl and Homes weaves these opinions into the story well.

Other reviewers have commented on the novel's almost 'Disneyesque' ending and while I can see their point, I did kind of like it: hasn't everyone got an Aunt Lillian, totally devoid of tact, opening her mouth and saying just the wrong thing at the wrong moment?

Without giving too much away, Harry's redemption is hard-earned, but well-deserved, if only it was better edited and with less of the 'Mickey Rooney School of Asian Depiction'.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friggin' fantastic, 31 Dec 2012
By 
Penelope Simpson "penny simpson" (dorset, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: May We be Forgiven (Hardcover)
One of the strangest books I've ever read but gripping - my god, the opening chapter had me leaping out of my chair.

The story is there as a reassuring backdrop to be revealed in bush-wacking slugs,but totally unimportant. What gets you is the writing - the acute observance of characters who are anything but normal but who do such normal things that we are left wondering about our own capacity for weird. Fab, fab, tight writing, some laugh out loud stuff, slow reveals that have you reading through the night.

Wonderful. I LOVED it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, 1 Sep 2013
This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Paperback)
I'm sure this is a 'great' book, why else would it gain so many accolades. However on a personal level I thoroughly disliked it. The promising start quickly disintegrated into a soup of sex and schmaltz and the only compassion I felt was for the neglected dog.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Simply too tedious, 9 Jun 2014
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This review is from: May We Be Forgiven (Audio CD)
I really enjoyed This Book will Save your Life, so decided to try listening to May we be Forgiven in the car. But after a tedious 3 hours I gave up as I simply couldn't bear the thought of listening to it for another 14 hours or so, priize winner or not. It was simply just too slow moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May her critics be forgiven!, 11 May 2014
By 
C. Russell - See all my reviews
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If ever an author divided opinion it's this woman. I love it, but she is definitely my number one Marmite author. The problem, I think, is that you have to suspend reality so far to even begin to access her work. This is the fourth novel of hers I have read. I describe her writing as liking living in a Salvador Dali painting. It is a bizarre world occupied by people who are almost real, but not quite. What I love is the crispness of her work. So little is wasted. She's funny, disturbing and - I suspect - a little mad. After I'd read this I had to go back to books with description, real characters and a clear plot. Basically, this book can make your brain hurt. It doesn't just challenge in the way that, say, a Salman Rushdie can. It slaps you about the face and gives you a hard time on occasions, but then you read a section of black humour that has you hungry for more.

Don't go here without a heath warning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!, 8 April 2014
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I thought it was hilarious. I had some really embarrassing 'laugh out loud' moments on the train! I think you have to have a certain sense of humour to enjoy it, though i.e. a bit dark!!
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