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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, sexy, moving
Me and Mr Booker, Cory Taylor's first novel, has been described as a coming of age novel. Martha is sixteen and tells people she is emotionally scarred from her parents' marriage break-up. She considers her unemployed (and seemingly unemployable) father, Victor, mad, and in a frightening rather than an amusing way. Her mother, Jessica, a teacher, throws parties every...
Published on 3 Mar 2011 by Cloggie Downunder

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty awful story
Bad storyline, poorly written. The plot never really develops. You never really get to know any of the characters, which makes them all deeply unlike able. There is very little chemistry between Martha and Mr Booker, and very little character development. I kept reading hoping something would Actually happen, but to no avail. I recommend reading something else...not worth...
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, sexy, moving, 3 Mar 2011
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Paperback)
Me and Mr Booker, Cory Taylor's first novel, has been described as a coming of age novel. Martha is sixteen and tells people she is emotionally scarred from her parents' marriage break-up. She considers her unemployed (and seemingly unemployable) father, Victor, mad, and in a frightening rather than an amusing way. Her mother, Jessica, a teacher, throws parties every weekend to ward off the boredom and loneliness of weekends, and her older brother Eddie is away in New Guinea. In this dysfunctional atmosphere, Martha finds herself waiting for something to happen in her life. As luck will have it, that something is Mr Booker: English, sophisticated, charming and impossible to resist, despite the fact that he comes complete with a wife. Very little is learned about Mr Booker (and never his first name) until the last chapter: the very last line of the book reveals much.
Taylor expertly captures the feel of the dull country town, the sense of boredom and even hopelessness. She lets us inside the mind of a sixteen-year-old girl, one who feels "old" because of her parents' attitude and the way men have started to look at her. Her affair with Mr Booker seems inevitable, and Taylor builds the tension throughout the book, giving the reader a sense of "this can't end well". This tension is regularly eased by the witty repartee between the characters. As well as this, Victor's delusions and his letters to Jessica, full of inappropriately grandiloquent language, are quite a source of humour. Some of his later letters are, unintentionally, truly hilarious.
Taylor gives us believable characters and authentic dialogue. As we join Martha's journey towards adulthood and maturity, it is hard not to hope she finds her way without too much heartbreak. The last page, a touching ending, has the reader wondering who really has the power over whom? Me and Mr Booker is funny, sexy, moving: altogether a great read. Let us hope Cory Taylor has more like this one to share with her readers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sense of time and place, 28 Jun 2011
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Paperback)
Martha is sixteen and lives in a small Australian town. While I'm not sure when the book was set, my impression was that it was probably in the 1980s. Her parents have split, she is precocious and bored, desperate to escape. An English couple aged in their 30s come to live in the town and befriend her and her mother. To Martha the fact that they are from England makes them exotic and glamorous (she is immune to the fact that they hail from a small town on the Welsh border and his parents live in a caravan park). Martha and Mr Booker begin an affair.

This is a very well written book and I admired it tremendously but the sordid nature of their relationship and the way that everyone in the novel was so dislikeable prevented me from really loving it. This is more a reflection on me than on the book. The author captures Martha perfectly - her world-weariness and sense of sophistication, while being far less sophisticated than she realises. The insights into the Bookers - which Martha is oblivious to - are also well portrayed. A clever and memorable novel. I just wished I'd liked it more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tried too hard, 24 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Kindle Edition)
The author really tried too hard to create unusual characters and situations. I thought it was dreadful and gave up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty awful story, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Kindle Edition)
Bad storyline, poorly written. The plot never really develops. You never really get to know any of the characters, which makes them all deeply unlike able. There is very little chemistry between Martha and Mr Booker, and very little character development. I kept reading hoping something would Actually happen, but to no avail. I recommend reading something else...not worth your time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An accumulation of disappointed lives, 16 Dec 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Paperback)
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This is a book with real personality in its narrative voice. Martha is 16 in a small nowhere-town in Australia - and knows that men are starting to look at her in a certain way. In a bid to escape her dysfunctional family, she's drawn to the `glamorous' English Bookers - and is soon involved in her first sexual affair.

Martha's voice is ebullient and honest as she negotiates adulthood in the face of her parents' messy divorce, her absent older brother, and various family friends. Taylor is very clever in the way she layers Martha's view of Mr Booker with our response to this 34-year old man with his white linen suits, red handkerchiefs, equally provincial background and corny double-entendres. And I liked that this doesn't make anyone into a simple, one-dimensional character.

Beneath the animated surface of this book is a sad story of disappointed lives as people struggle with disillusionment, regret, frustration and failure. And we're left at the end not completely sure whether Martha herself has escaped this fate or not. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pick another book, 29 Nov 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Kindle Edition)
Set in a small Australian town, "Me and Mr Booker" is about an affair between 16 year old schoolgirl Martha, the book's narrator, and a 32 year old married university teacher from Britain called Mr Booker. Cory Taylor captures the voice of a 16 year old and the frustration she feels at living in a small town very well. That restless yearning to grow up, move out, and see the world is something a lot of people can relate to and Martha is a convincingly real person.

The novel explores the angle that young people, particularly teenagers, feel that they know everything and see things more clearly than their elders. Through Martha's narration, we see a more complex relationship between Mr and Mrs Booker than the simplistic "he's unhappy with his wife" motif that Martha imagines. Martha's naivety is highlighted through her constantly asking Mr Booker when he will leave his wife, when they will start their new life together, and it's painfully clear to the reader that Martha really doesn't understand the nature of their relationship or much at all about Mr and Mrs Booker's.

But the novel is too long. At 220 pages, it's not a long book but despite this brevity the book felt overlong by half. Once Taylor establishes the main characters, they continue in their way straight through until the end with little variation. Martha doesn't seem to change much and neither do the other characters. This stasis isn't helped by a lack of plot, and the novel meanders aimlessly repeating sex scenes, clandestine meetings, and secrets hidden in public appearances. It gets very tired after a while.

There also isn't a single likeable character in the book. Martha is bratty, deluded and a tool. Mr Booker is worse because he's just a loser. He drinks, says horribly boring things which he and Martha think are terribly funny - his character is such a tedious bore. Mrs Booker is a pitiful character rather than likeable, she's used as much as Martha. And then there are Martha's parents: her emotionally damaged mother hopelessly in thrall to her separated husband, the reprehensible sponge and intellectually vacuous Victor, Martha's father, who spends the book pursuing one pointless venture after another, borrowing money from Martha's mother only to waste it away. The book is well written but when you don't like any of the characters, it makes reading it that much harder.

"Me and Mr Booker" looks at the world of adult relationships through the eyes of someone who is still a child with the body of an adult and, while this is an interesting conceit, Taylor doesn't do enough in the novel to justify its length. The story could've been told much more quickly and the reader spared the company of such boring and annoying characters. They are a gallery of hopeless idiots I couldn't begin to like and by the end of the novel I'd lost all interest in their sad lives. If you've not read "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, I would suggest reading that if you're interested in this kind of story but I wouldn't recommend reading "Me and Mr Booker".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad and depressing!, 28 Nov 2012
By 
oldwoodie (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Kindle Edition)
I made a mistake with this one, influenced by the positive reviews. I hate giving up once I have begun a book, so I persisted to the end hoping that something good might happen, but I wasted my time as clearly this book was not written for someone like me! Me and Mr Booker is a thoroughly depressing story about the systematic corruption of a naive and vulnerable teenager by a drunken and sleazy older man. There is really nothing much to like about any of the characters. Perhaps fans of Eastenders or Big Brother would find something in this book, but for people seeking an enjoyable read this is definitely one to be avoided.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coming off age in Australia, 8 Oct 2012
By 
Marleen (Cavan, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Paperback)
Martha is sixteen years old, living in a small town where nothing ever happens with parents who are separated, a brother who has moved away and a father who is mad. Martha is waiting for the rest of her life to begin when her mother invites Mr. and Mrs. Booker to a party. The Bookers are a married couple in their thirties who have recently moved from England to Australia. Well aware of the effect she has on men, Martha is not surprised when she notices that he can't keep his eyes off her. And it isn't long before Mr. Booker kisses Martha, launching an affair that soon means the world to the teenager but never really has a chance of going anywhere. While her father, Victor, refuses to go away permanently and keeps on upsetting both her mother and Martha, the girl finds herself in a situation where stolen moments with Mr. Booker take turns with continued contact with Mrs. Booker. Lost in an adult world ruled by (too much) alcohol and secrets, Martha is hoping that her lover will leave his wife for her although she is never able to completely convince herself that he might actually do that. And when hope and tragedy visit the Bookers' in quick succession it spells the end of Martha's affair and heralds the start of the rest of her life.

Now that I've finished reading this book I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about it. It is a short book and a fascinating story. However it is written in a very detached way. Although the story is narrated by Martha herself, she tells it as if it has little to do with her. How emotionally attached she actually was to what was going on in her life has to be found between the lines, in the words the narrator doesn't use. But that is just the tone of the story. It is impossible for the reader not to realise how emotionally invested Martha was in the affair, and that she at least thought that she loved this man.Since the Martha telling the story is clearly older than the Martha who is at the centre of it, it is quite possible that this tone is used to hide how much the whole episode affected her. And the same is true for the way in which she describes her family life. Her sixteen year old exasperation with her parents at war with the connection she feels with them.

In many ways this is a coming of age story. A young girl falls in love for the first time and has her first sexual experiences at an age where such things make a deep and lasting impression. The heartbreaking part of the story is that in many ways the sixteen-year-old is the grown-up in this story. Between her mad (bi-polar?) father, her needy mother and moody brother Martha doesn't have a lot of support at home. When an interesting English man twice her age pays her attention she is more than open to his charms. For once she feels like the centre of somebody's life, even if that somebody is all wrong for her.

A lot of this story can be found in all the things that are not actually told. For example, it is never clear how much or how little the other people in Martha and Mr. Booker's life know about what is going on between the two of them. Although it seems impossible that they managed to keep their affair a secret from everybody around them, nobody tries to keep them apart, not even Mrs. Booker. Equally, it is never completely clear when exactly this story takes place, although I'd like to say that it is set in the 1960's or 70's.

This was a very easy book to read. The language flows and pulls the reader into what appears to be a nice little story. Except that of course it isn't. As soon as you stop reading for a minute and start thinking about what is actually happening on the pages you have been turning so quickly you realise that this is a shocking and rather sad story about a sixteen year old, desperate for love and finding it in completely the wrong place. And although Martha, as the narrator doesn't make any statements about the rights or wrongs of this affair - apart from saying that it would have been better if it hadn't happened - it is hard for the reader not to feel sorry for the girl who had to experience her first big love with a man this unworthy of her.

Overall I would call this a fascinating story which was (almost too) easy to read. The sort of book that won't make it's real impact be felt until you've read the last page and think about the story for a while. It is only after Martha has finished telling her story that it becomes clear how heartbreaking that story actually is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wicked and witty, 5 Dec 2013
By 
J. Dawson (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Martha is sixteen, but she feels older. She lives with her rather bohemian divorced mother in a small Australian town where nothing ever happens, and she is impatient for life to begin. Into this world comes Mr Booker, a debonnaire English man who just happens to be married. So begins a bizarre love triangle.

The story is a slow burner and it must be said that there are not many surprises or revelations- just as life often is. Rather it's a case of sharing the journey with the characters, seeing adults through the eyes of a bright teenage girl who hasn't realised how naive she truly is.
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3.0 out of 5 stars reasonable read, 20 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Me and Mr Booker (Kindle Edition)
Not mind blowing or a can't put down read but interesting and well written. A good easy holiday book. Enjoyed
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Me and Mr Booker
Me and Mr Booker by Cory Taylor (Paperback - 28 Feb 2011)
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