- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1008 KB
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; New Ed edition (1 Feb. 2001)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0043VD66C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #377,283 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Passing Go Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Perhaps most importantly, this book may come to be regarded as a milestone in people's increasing understanding and tolerance of those who happen to be different. It probably would not have been published even a few years ago, an encouraging sign that society is moving towards a time when it will truly "celebrate diversity".
Ms Purves also seems to be striving for a contemporary year-2000 feel - the Tracey Emin-type daughter the son who is a dot-com millionaire - but this actually makes the novel feel somewhat dated in 2001. In my opinion the novel's central emotional focus should the relationship between Roy, Helen and their children - especially Zachary - but the family quickly disintegrates and the later reconcilation between Roy and his older children is meaningless and shallow. It seems that Libby Purves was aiming at social comedy (to go by the cover of the novel) which I suppose is a critic's way of saying the novel starts out with realistic characters with an identificable lifestyle only to degenerate into a farce with more and more eccentric characters being introduced who succeed only in irritating the reader and distracting from what should be the central focus of the book.
I enjoyed this book a lot, but I have to say I found the first 100 pages totally implausible. For example, would any intelligent man like Roy let the family get so greatly into debt that they were down to the last £50 of their overdraft? And, if made redundant, wouldn't his first thoughts be with his wife and small son, rather than about how he's going to get revenge and make his company look a fool? And would any son hate his father enough to sack him for no reason - and would he be allowed to? Also, how many men, even in deep depression, would opt to make themselves homeless? I found myself finding the whole situation rather ridiculous. However, things improved no end when Purves moved onto the story of Shona and Danny, and Zack's wanting to find out about Danny. And there were some fine later scenes with the priest Father Douglas, and some fascinating material, sensitively handled, about transexuality. These later scenes were thought-provoking and well worth reading, and I thought it was brave of Purves to not have a completely 'happy end'. Ultimately, though, I felt she could have explored the relationship between Helen and Roy in much more depth - Helen remained a very shadowy character, and I couldn't believe that any normal mother would happily abandon her family to live in an old people's home, and be panting to get back there even after a crisis. And I was never sure why the marriage had broken down so much. Ultimately Purves was much stronger on the siblings, and on Roy's relationship with his twin daughter and son, than on marriage.
So - like 'More Lives than One' or 'Continental Drift', also by Purves, I found this a novel with some very moving bits and interesting characters, but with a plot that overall didn't quite hang together. Three and a half stars.
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