Top critical review
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Didn't quite work for me...
on 2 July 2011
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Tamar, I was eager to read Mal Peet's latest. The writing is just as crisp and sharp, a wonderful depiction of Clem's young life and his first love, and the wonder of discovering sexual attraction against a backdrop of wartime rural Norfolk and vividly drawn schooldays. There's a good measure of humour, and aching moments of sadness. Then the "exploded diagram" brings in the world situation with a look at JFK and other protagonists during the Cuban missile crisis. And that's where things went a little wrong for me. Clever, yes, but I thought there was an absence of "fit" between the stories - other than the obvious urgency of the young couple getting together before they're blown to smithereens. The world story is told very straight, despite the apparent insights into world leaders' lives - I missed Clem and Frankie every time the story veered away, and found myself skipping chunks. I'm out of step with a lot of other reviewers on this book, but my overall feeling was a slight disappointment and disconnection.
Thanks to netgalley for providing an advanced e-copy.