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14 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat
The Self-Preservation Society has one member: Jo, a thirty-something scaredy-cat who's so terrified of disaster striking that she never dares do anything even slightly risky. But then an accident happens and Jo starts to re-evaluate her life, forcing herself to analyse what exactly made her so scared in the first place - and if she can conquer her fears at last.
I...
Published on 13 Dec 2007 by Sukie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull dull dull
This book was a bland as the main character Jo. I can hardly believe anyone gave this book 5 stars. The plot was as predictable as reciting the alphabet. Jo's brain injury must have affected her judgement as her adoration of Luke who lacked any form of charisma was mind boggling. I kept hoping and anticipating that this book would surprise me and develop a vaguely...
Published on 18 Mar 2010 by Coco


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real treat, 13 Dec 2007
By 
Sukie (South Coast) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The Self-Preservation Society has one member: Jo, a thirty-something scaredy-cat who's so terrified of disaster striking that she never dares do anything even slightly risky. But then an accident happens and Jo starts to re-evaluate her life, forcing herself to analyse what exactly made her so scared in the first place - and if she can conquer her fears at last.
I loved reading this book - it's funny, moving, full of brilliant characters and really original. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding book - utterly engrossing!, 20 Jun 2007
i really loved this book - it's got the lot: characters you care about, humour, heart, atmosphere, plot, pace - and probably lots of other stuff i've forgotten to mention. like the other reviewer, i've been carrying it around with me, sneaking a few more pages every chance i get. couldn't stop reading, but i didn't want it to end!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Couldn't Put It Down!, 20 Jun 2007
It's always a sign to me if I start carrying a book around and snatching quick reads in the loo, or disappearing off to bed early to catch a few more chapters. All good things end too quickly, and so it was with this book. A funny, sad, poignant story guaranteed to enchant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scaredy-cat's guide to taking the right risks..., 15 Feb 2010
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An enjoyable romp of a book, about the most unlikely of subjects - a neurotic local government worker called Jo who has spent her entire life planning for disaster. When disaster finally strikes, it isn't the kind she's been expecting at all - and it forces her to reconsider her priorities in life and start taking the right kind of risks in order to get the life she really wants.

This is a very funny book, but quite apart from the humour, it's very moving and inspiring. Everyone has fears (though perhaps not as comically enormous as Jo's!) and this novel is about facing your fears - or perhaps about the perils of not facing your fears.

I have to say I'm not a great lover of chick lit (and this book comes with the requisite fluffy pastel cover) but although it is readable and aimed at women, it's much more than just chick lit. Kate Harrison is a brilliant author and, like the rest of her books, The Self-Preservation Society is engaging and readable but also filled with insights and emotional depth. Personally I didn't enjoy it quite as Old School Ties (nearly, but not quite). As others have said, the plot does develop quite slowly and it is more of an emotional journey than an action-filled one. I'd recommend it ias a great read, though, and will definitely be buying a copy for my best friend!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A safety net for a scaredy-cat, 16 Jan 2009
By 
SilentSinger (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
When my husband bought me this book I was intriegued, although it looked like another 'chick lit' book it turned out to be much more. It's the story of Jo Morgan who grew up in the vicinity of Greenham Common and as a result of this and a rather fanatical teacher and his various armageddon-esque films has developed into a rather cautious young woman working (ironically!) in the local Government field of civil protection. Jo is surrounded by various other characters such as her live-in partner, fellow local Government employee Dennis, her unconventional parents and of course, the chick lit requisite, the tarty best friend. What sets this book apart though is the addition of octagenerian Wing Commander 'Frisky' La Belle whom she meets after suffering a traumatic accident which sets a chain of events in motion which will make her question her past and future.

I admit that I hugely enjoyed this book; it was beautifully written and the nod to the overwhelming fear of nuclear attack in the 1980s was sensitively written, as was the aftermath of Jo's accident. My only gripe and why it has only merited four stars was the slight predictability of the ending, mind you, don't let that put you off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleepless Nights....., 18 Aug 2007
By 
R. L. Phillips-Leaver "Viva Pip-Leaver !" (Newhaven, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm halfway through this book and I'm finding myself waking up to read it at obscure hours of the night ! I needed something to take me away from my post-Harry Potter blues (another 3 a.m. read), and this fits the bill. I love the school scenes as being the same age as Jo, I understand where she's coming from ! An engrossing read, I may come back with a 5 star rating when I've finished...watch this space !
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read!, 9 July 2007
I was totally convinced by Jo's fear of living and genuinely moved by her journey towards a richer, fuller life. The cover implied something lighter and frothier than the story I read. This is a seriously funny book and the author has a brilliant eye for the comic, but there is also a darker and more nourishing side to it, and the author manages to say a lot of wise things with the lightest of touches. An excellent, entertaining, moving read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull dull dull, 18 Mar 2010
This book was a bland as the main character Jo. I can hardly believe anyone gave this book 5 stars. The plot was as predictable as reciting the alphabet. Jo's brain injury must have affected her judgement as her adoration of Luke who lacked any form of charisma was mind boggling. I kept hoping and anticipating that this book would surprise me and develop a vaguely interesting plot but on the contrary it ended with all the fizz of a damp firework. I say if you think you can stand to read each dreary chapter, buy a used copy for 0.01p just to see if you concur with my opinion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 9 Nov 2013
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really good, fun, heartfelt read. definitely recommend it. excellent autor anyways but this is one of her good ones for sure!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good title, shame about the book, 13 April 2013
By 
I think the author must have decided on her title, then thought of a plot to fit round it. It's a shame, as I enjoyed Brown Owl's Guide to Life, and I still enjoy the author's writing style. Unfortunately, we are somehow supposed to relate to the main character Jo, but aside from her unfortunate accident, we find out far too little about her, and certainly few redeeming features. She's not funny, has no empathy, little conversation and is very self-centred. We are then supposed to believe that two lovely men are falling for her (both of whom are far better written, and would make much more interesting books on their own).

Worse than this is cardboard, made to fit the purposes of the plot Dennis, who begins the book with exactly the same foibles and annoying habits as Jo. However, we are supposed to dislike him for this, despite him having reasons in his past (just like Jo) that explain his behaviour. This character was definitely short-changed.

On the upside, brother Timmy and the parents were interesting and life-like. I'd read about about them. As long as Jo was taking a long holiday elsewhere.
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