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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love this book, but...., 17 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: PopCo (Paperback)
I really wanted to love this book in the same way I did 'The End Of Mr Y' but I just couldn't.

The premise is interesting - an eccentric toy designer - Alice - and former crossword compiler is sent away by her company to a mysterious corporate brainstorming event where we find out about her childhood, learn that she's very clever and she spends half the book ill in bed with an unspecified illness.

Parts of the book are very good but other parts are not and some of it is just downright annoying. For example, detailed explanations of codes and code-breaking were great in parts but then reams of numbers seemed to me to be merely page-fillers and of no use at all.

SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: I found the jump to the 18th century initially very interesting but after several pages began to feel it was far too detailed - yes, we get the point about what this relates to!

I also did not understand the ending at all and agree with other reviewers who felt it was a bit of a fudge - 'Mmmm, not sure where to go with this next - I know! I'll go all meta-fictional and then it won't matter what I write!'.

I felt some editing was in order as well. As with other novels of Thomas's I have read, the word 'just' is used to an extent that makes me want to scream.

I became confused with a number of the characters as well - what was the difference between Chloe and Grace for example and did we really need both of these people?

I wasn't convinced by the relationship with Ben - from the narrative, particularly relating to her childhood, I got the impression that Alice was a very quiet and self-contained person. She doesn't say much yet Ben wants to have a relationship as soon as he meets her - I couldn't understand why.

I was irritated with repetitive descriptions of Alice's unruly hair and the products she had to use to try and tame it yet I had no idea what she looked like!

I disagree with other reviewers about the heavy-handedness on veganism - I read the reviews before reading the book and thought there was going to be a lot more about it, but there was far less mention of animal rights and treatment than I was expecting.

I only finished the book because I was at home unwell and had nothing else to read. I think if I'd read 'PopCo' prior to 'The End Of Mr Y', I would have thought more highly of it, but it was a complete come down for me.

I feel guilty not giving this 5 stars but I can only write how I feel.
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Location: London, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 16,632