Customer Review

6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 21 Feb. 2011
This review is from: One Good Turn: (Jackson Brodie) (Paperback)
No, no, no. I'm afraid this really will not do. I was going to give it two stars, because I'm a generous, warm-hearted sort of person. But let's be honest: it's really only a one.

Some years ago, Kate Atkinson won the prestigious Whitbread prize (a UK literary award) for her first novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum. I read it to find out what all the fuss was about, and decided, as I usually do with literary novels, that it was much ado about nothing very much. Just a young author who got lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time with an eccentric bunch of judges.

Then I read When Will There be Good News, a crime novel which was shortlisted for a UK Crime Writers Association award. This was a tolerably acceptable crime novel, so I thought I might try the next one that came out, Started Early, Took my Dog.

Sorry, no good at all. After about fifty pages, one of the characters (a senior police officer) did something which was quite incredible to me. I have known a few senior police officers in my time, and I cannot possibly imagine any senior police officer doing anything as utterly foolish as this fictional one did. So I abandoned the book.

A few months later I found this one in a charity shop: One Good Turn. But a good turn for whom, one might ask. Not for me. Some people seem to like it (see the five-star reviews), but others, like me, feel that it is a misrepresentation to call it a crime novel. There is one minor incident early on. This incident is witnessed, it seems, by half a dozen different people. And we then get pages and pages and pages of what novelists call backstory. We hear all about what their daddy said to them when they were three, all about Aunty Mildred's wallpaper when they were thirteen. And so on.

Meanwhile some of us are sitting there screaming, What about the story? What happened next? After 100 pages I lost the will to read further.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 May 2011 12:05:27 BDT
D. Harris says:
Very brave, giving a bad review to such a popular book. But very informative too, I enjoyed the review.
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