8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Brings nothing new to the party...,
This review is from: Every Man For Himself (Paperback)
This book starts with a major handicap. Two, actually. The first is that you already know how it will end. It's about the voyage of the Titanic, so of course you know. The second is that the film has already covered the separation of the social classes. It's hard to know what Bainbridge can provide that we do not already have. I know she published this before the film, but we're reading it right now.
Undoubtedly, she has done her homework and, unlike many modern authors, manages to shoehorn her research into the book without having constant departures for feeble revision note-style ranting. Kudos for that - I'm fed up of authors who have Googled for a week, and feel obliged to abandon fiction in favour of a couple of pages of factual information. In particular, Bainbridge's presentation of the lack of hurry and concern when the iceberg arrives, is well done.
However, beyond this, the book is less successful. The novel is not particularly evocative of either place or time. Many of the characters are cartoonish and not drawn with sufficient depth. Too many sound and feel like Bertie Wooster, or some other Wodehouse character. The sharp distinction between social classes is somewhat clumsily presented. The reader has too little invested with the characters to care unduly when the ending comes.
Ultimately, this is a brisk and fairly ordinary run through a well-known event. It is hard to see what is unusually enlightening or surprising, and therefore hard to know what Bainbridge thought she was giving to the reader by writing it.