Surprising, shocking and informative,
This review is from: The Children's Book (Paperback)
I started reading this book after my Grandma had given up after about 100 pages declaring it "not her cup of tea", so I approached it with a certain amount of scepticism, but I was pleasantly surprised. The book is initially quite hard-going and would not suit a person who reads very sporadically as there is a very large cast of characters whose relationships to each other have to be remembered - the book would benefit from a family tree or at least a list of everyone at the beginning! This book suits someone with very eclectic reading taste - you must have a joy of fairy tales and fantasy as the book contains a couple of large passages of these, the book also contains several chapters of very dense historical fact relating to the background against which the character's lives are set. You must also not be squeamish as the book details every bit of human fallibility, relationships and the gruesome details of war honestly and explicitly.
My favourite thing about the book was how as a reader you come to care about every character in a cast of well over 20 people, each character is flawed, fallible and incredibly human and their relationships are very bit as complicated and convoluted as those in real life.
This book also has excellent progression, it covers about 30 years of the characters lives, each approximate decade in its own section and the ageing of the characters is reflected in the progression, with the first part being happy, childlike and focussed on fantasy, the second looking at growing up, finding oneself and embarking on first relationships, and the third on the realities of marriage, work and war.
This is a very satisfying book.