Customer Reviews


39 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is john so eccentric or mad??
This novel held me in thrall for all its pages. These passed too quickly, except for the excruciating pain of the move to the project slum in Dublin, with its unforgettable stench and filth- particularly the scenes around the elevator and the gang bullying.These were so vivid and real that each second dragged by painfully.I found John totally believable and not nearly as...
Published on 21 Oct 2006 by toscakiss

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
John Egan is a prematurely tall 12 year old misfit. He is lonely, obsessive and eccentric, becoming convinced that he has an exceptional gift to detect lies; this, he believes, will bring him fame and fortune and he fantasizes about it incessantly.

There are superficial similarities to David Mitchell's "Black Swan Green" in that both books are about lonely...
Published on 3 Mar 2007 by B. A. V. MIDDLEMAST-NEAL


Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book. Kindle download, 28 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Kindle Edition)
For me a great read loved this book. I am again just filling up the space with words required as I don't believe in leaving reviews a book is personal to you. Read the back cover if you like what it says buy it if not don't!! I have filled the space!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry Me Down, 28 Oct 2009
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
11 year old John Egan shares a cottage in Ireland with his parents, his grandmother and a cat. He is obsessed with the Guiness Book of Records and with his ability to detect the lies and untruths told by those around him.

Yet these obsessions cause trouble. His attempt to break a world record leads to an embarrasing incident in class whilst his pursuit of truth affects the relationships of those closest to him. His family are thrown out of the cosy cottage and end up on the twelfth floor of a grimy, Dublin skyscraper.

Throughout this novel, narrated in the first person by John, we question the integrity and even the sanity of the storyteller, realising his obsessional nature may reflect a psychological condition which prevents him from appreciating the effects his actions have on others. Yet it is this element of mystery that makes this novel so intriguing. MJ Hyland explores the naivety and uncertainty of a 12 year old boy with precision and the novel is written in an unfussy, controlled style.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, bleakly funny, sometimes disturbing novel, 9 Oct 2009
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
John can't stop growing. At the age of 11 he is six feet tall and looks much older, but his mind is still that of a child. We see everything from John's point of view. He is obsessed with the idea that he will one day be famous and writes letters to the Ripley Museum near Niagara Falls, and to the Guinness Book of Records. He can tell when people are lying and thinks this might be his route to fame. He could be the human lie detector and people would come to see him from far and wide.

John and his parents are living with his grandmother in Gorey, a country village (in Ireland). His parents are having a difficult time and his father wants to enrol in University, but he has to pass the Trinity examination. John doesn't make friends easily, but when a new teacher arrives at the school, John is picked out as someone special - for the first time in his life his vivid imagination seems valued. But then his father quarrels with his grandmother and they leave for Dublin where they live in a high-rise block of flats and his father gets a low-grade job as a machinist.

The intensity of this narrative which gives us John's internal thoughts and ideas in relentless detail, can become a little overwhelming. John seems at times both threatening and vulnerable and the family atmosphere becomes claustrophobic, especially after John catches his father lying once too often. There is one incident at this stage of the book that is horrifically chilling and may cause the reader to withdraw any easy sympathy the book has built up for John. Nevertheless, this is a totally engrossing read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, 3 Mar 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
John Egan is a prematurely tall 12 year old misfit. He is lonely, obsessive and eccentric, becoming convinced that he has an exceptional gift to detect lies; this, he believes, will bring him fame and fortune and he fantasizes about it incessantly.

There are superficial similarities to David Mitchell's "Black Swan Green" in that both books are about lonely boys, but this unravels towards the end as John's mental health deteriorates. What had been a wholly believable tale suddenly spirals out of control with a wholly unbelievable ending.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the 2006 booker bunch, 3 Sep 2006
By 
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
This novel is long-listed for the 2006 Booker and is the best of the bunch that I've read so far. The prose is clean and sharp and the suspense and atmosphere that builds up is awful (meaning great).
Comparisons t other child narrators like that in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time or David Mitchell's latest rather miss the point; this is a book about the consequences of a kind of extreme puritanism and perfectionism - the desire to make the world in the way you want it and the inabiity to fully realise that other people have lives that are outside your ken.
However, like the best child narrators, John Egan (the 12 year old central character) does evoke strong felings of sympathy (despite him being a little creepy)and sees the world with an off-kilter vision that has not yet been dulled by adulthood.
A great read.; highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch perfect, 30 Aug 2006
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
I loved Carry Me Down. Admittedly, in being set in Ireland, having a strong story line and being narrated in simple language it pressed the right buttons for me.

The simple language - the novel is narrated by a 12 year old - should not detract from the complexity of the characters or the story line. It becomes clear from the start that John Egan, an only child, is not quite right. Whilst not being bad, he clearly has some arrogance, hypocrisy and delusions of grandeur. He has a pious and sanctimonious attitude towards others lies, whilst not seeing the need to be truthful himself. But he is still pitiable and, in some ways, quite likable.

Meanwhile, his mother, father and grandmother clearly have an uneasy relationship, both with one another and with John. The beauty of the novel is that this, viewed through the eyes of a 12 year old - looks uncomfortable without ever being clearly defined. John resents his family's failings whilst unwittingly doing his best to widen the cracks.

As the family is forced to leave Gorey and ends up in Ballymun, events start to spiral out of control - and perhaps this happens rather too quickly. John's mother might have become more desparate before John attacks her. Nevertheless, the attack is shocking and unexpected - it has huge impact. The aftereffects clearly don't sink in for John, and this translates to the reader - I never felt the bleakness facing John from which he is ultimately rescued.

With more room, the novel could have explored a number of relationships in more detail. In particular, the teacher felt like an underused device and his motives seemed a little sinister but were never pursued. But more room might have let John outstay his welcome. A balance had to be struck somewhere.

The pitch was beautiful, and painted an uncomfortably convincing portrait of an eccentric and unhappy child.
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 Excellent, but..., 3 April 2008
By 
S. Murphy (Worcester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
This is an excellent novel, combining elements of Ireland's darkness and fragile state of mind on the scale of Pat McCabe, with acute social observation of the order of Sue Townsend.

However. I read this first and read MJ's 1st novel "How The Light Gets In" second and the similarities are uncanny. It almost ammounts to a thematic rewrite. Both novels are excellent but her third must really break free of these themes and this structure if she is not to risk derision.
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 good read, 4 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
Dont agree with some of the negative comments....this is looked from the boys point, the way he sees the worlds, and his understanding, which is a confused one.
Maybe the writer could have gone a lttle 'deeper' on certain issues, but i feel that would have spoilt the book a little, I felt the book was wrote from the boys understanding.
Well worth a read.
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 Very bleak, but also very good!, 1 May 2007
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
I picked this up together with all the other shortlisted books for last years Booker prize. This is the first of the five that I've read. This is very good and I can see why it was shortlisted.

The narrative is told through the voice of the main protagonist, John Egan an 11 year old boy growing up in rural Ireland. Other reviewers have pointed out that similarities to Mark Haddon's "Curious Incident". Yes it does deal with a child with an obvious behavioural disorder - it is obvious, I don't think you need to be a child psychologist here! - however the Asperger's syndrome that was behind the boy in "Curious Incident" was far more open about the main character's disorder than this. This is a far subtler, sensitive treatment of a similar subject.

Curiously there is also some similarity with a book that was hotly tipped to be shortlisted last year but didn't make it. David Mitchell's "Black Swan Green" also looks at one year in the life of a boy in the early 1970s - this time in rural Worcestershire. Strangely the similarities do not end there. This tale is also about the strain on a family and the role that children play in the difficulties in their parents' relationships. I can see why the judges only shortlisted one of the books, but I'd have to say either would have done - there isn't much too choose here between this and "Black Swan Green". The differences I'd suggest are that this is much bleaker but at the same time is written in a simpler style that makes this a quick read.

It is however, a very satisfying read and well worth buying. It's led me to get hold of M.J. Hyland's debut novel which I'll read soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Outstanding, 1 Jan 2007
By 
Solo Walker "SW" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Carry Me Down (Paperback)
Being a male & remembering my own childhood in the 50s & 60's I could relate to the experiences of the young lad in this wonderful book. Some kids being more sensitive than others, can pick up on parental behaviour & it can exacerbate their insecurities, triggering an embryonic & over active imagination. What baffles me, is how did the author being a female know the feelings & emotions of a young male, so damn well?

The writing is of the highest standard & I loved every page of this tour de force.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Carry Me Down
Carry Me Down by Maria Hyland (Paperback - 6 April 2006)
£7.58
Usually dispatched within 9 to 12 days
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews