5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Heaven or Hell?,
This review is from: This is Paradise (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really couldn't see anything paradisical about this book at all. The family seems to be completely dysfunctional and not "ordinary" at all as according to the cover blurb.
Emily and Don seem to spend a lot of their marriage avoiding issues and generally irritating eachother, but stay married because - well, why?
Ostensibly this is the tale of an ordinary family with four children who are all different and have to gradually make their way in the world. There is a hiatus and then they come together again when Emily is suffering her final illness.
There are a couple of joyous events, but for the most part the children seem to be full of anxiety and end up with a lot of hang-ups they don't talk about just like their parents.
Clive seemed to me to be autistic after reading the first few chapters, but then I couldn't understand why he'd never been assessed or why his parents did nothing (nor ever discussed) his alarming behaviour.
Benjamin is a sensitive child who, it is later revealed, is gay. He has one short relationship in his life and then seems to be doomed to spend the rest of it alone. Worrying.
The girls are a little less well described, but they both end up somewhat distracted and seemingly unable to cope with their parents and siblings. It says that Liz really loved her mother, but there's very little sign of it apart from casual presents; usually they snipe at eachother.
It doesn't help that the style is very post-modern, almost deconstructed, though it is as if the author didn't have the courage to go the whole hog. Some of it, including the ending, is rather confusing. I sort of enjoyed the story yet wished they didn't all get on eachother's nerves so much and weren't so, well, dysfunctional