Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 11 March 2014
I should not have liked this book; definitely not! It is entirely against my principles, containing as it does, vengefulness, sexual promiscuity, nasty people, foul language (and plenty of it!) and murder most foul. MOST foul! If I had realised, I would not have downloaded it....
I was hooked on the first page and read it as fast as I could, pausing only to chuckle or even to reflect on the human condition! Kindle addict Maura Keene discovers that she has only six months to live. She has already had a very tough time: Her husband has been killed in an accident caused by her son in law and her daughter is not a nice person. She goes into a bar and is offered sympathy and support by Alan, the publican, who has also had a hard time. The two become friends and embark on an adventure - making the last six months of Maura's life count. She makes a 'bucket list' of the things she wants to do, and figuring high on the list is the desire to 'get even' with those who have wronged her.
This is quite a black concept (which made me fear that I had embarked on a horror story - not my taste at all!) but it has a weirdly comedic element and a thread of optimism - and the idea of people getting their just deserts is pretty satisfying.
There is no doubt about the originality of this book. It is actually slightly mad! There are many twist and turns to the plot, each slightly more bonkers than the last. It reminded me a bit of 'Arsenic and Old Lace' only wilder and a lot more profane!
The style of writing is unusual, switching voices between characters and even the author herself (or is it really the author..?), as well as telling much of the story in the third person. It adds texture and interest, although when the characters tell each other their life stories, they do not exactly use everyday conversational language. I boggled a bit, for example, at the idea of a mother telling her daughter about how her ex-lover fondled her breasts - and more! I thought a bit more editing would have ironed out some of these problems, as well as some clumsiness in the sentence construction. However, probably most people will not care a scrap about that. The main thing is that the story is engrossing and full of surprises and makes you think and chuckle wickedly.
Despite the comedic element, there is undoubtedly a serious underlying theme. There has to be, since the book deals with life and death, injustice and revenge, suffering and madness, fate and freedom - the human condition, in fact. It offers no answer, beyond a kind of fatalism, although there is a hint of eternal justice from above. There's not much about forgiveness or repentance to soften it, either. As I said, slightly bonkers in a zany and eminently readable way.
The end of the book is mysterious. Who is Desmond Tinae? What really happened to Maura Keene? How is her fate linked with that of a famous pop star? I'll leave you to find out...