The Unfortunates Paperback – 1 Jul 2003
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Poppy Minkel is the daisy fresh, naively witty star of Laurie Graham's The Unfortunates. Poppy is a mustard heiress with crinkle-cut hair, sticky-out ears and a nutty Jewish family. When Pa goes down with the Titanic, Ma decides Poppy was destined to be the companion of her old age. Instead Thoroughly Modern Poppy, blessed with 'savoir faire and unusual beauty' sashays into 1920s New York in search of generation-defining moments.
In a series of flashbulb-bright adventures Ms. Minkel acquires two husbands, two children, and a variety of breathless accomplishments--designer, aviatrix, gallerista. Poppy Minkel is determined to live up to her mantra: 'I'm modern and fun-loving and rich.' It's not all ditzy fun though, Poppy may glide along the surface of things admirably, but Laurie Graham's deft prose gets to the heart of things. The loss, grief, ignorance, and emotional vulnerbality that surround the events of the Second World War play in devasating counterpoint to Poppy's self-centred aplomb. Her breezy resilence allows her to deal with a drunken, violent first husband, with his haikus and his "glancing blows" and pretty much ignore anything else of consequence. It's only towards the end of the novel when faced with family tragedy that her regret slips in and "placed the heaviest weight around my heart". The Unfortunates is deliciously Nancy Mitford,--glinting with irony, sadness and humour. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Praise for THE UNFORTUNATES:
'It is a marvel. Graham's style is riveting, hilarious one-liners falling in quick succession.' Anthea Lawson, The Times
'My unputdownable book of the year. I laughed and cried.' Shereen Nanjiani, Sunday Herald
'An irrepressible adventurer, Poppy is a comic combination of innocence and pluck, but although this is a brisk, breezy read, it's also a novel with serious bite.' Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail
'Laurie Graham is a writer with a remarkably malleable comic voice.' Alex Clark, The Guardian
'Fresh, funny and smart, a novel that reels from the Titanic to jazz age New York.’ Observer
‘This wildly funny novel…is often on the brink of being a wildly tragic one.’ The Sunday Times
‘A compelling read’ Hello!
‘Poppy Minkel is a wonderfully original, naive character, and Graham injects her with the same eccentric humour all her protagonists share, making it impossible not to love her. A fantastic, engrosssing read.’ GlamourSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I would recommend this book to anyone and I'm sure it is one of the few books that I won't tire of re-reading.
And as for Melton Mowbray - I've lived there and it can be like that even in the 21st Century!
She really enjoyed The Future Homemakers of America and wanted another Laurie Graham.
After reading it almost non-stop she declared it as, "Even better than The Future Homemakers of America!"
What do I know? Nothing!
What does she know? If you like Laurie Graham you'll probably love this book.
The story centres around Poppy, a self-centred, energetic heiress who is lacking in finer sensitivities to others and whose hedonistic lifestyle results in her emotional neglect of those close to her. The book is full of characters in Poppy's life - characterised so well that you don't have difficulty remembering who's who - and spans a whole lifetime and two world wars (which are not really dwelt upon much).
This is a hard book to categorise but it is not chick lit so don't be put off by the synopsis. This is a really good book, it has humour, sadness and an insight into personalities like Poppy's and I found it hard to put down - every chapter left me hungry for 'what happens next?'. I loved it! By the way, I read this after reading the author's other book 'Mr Starlight' which I picked up at a library table sale and I couldn't put that down either. It's a rare writer who manages to elicit sympathy for a character that you have loathed for most of the book. Brilliant stuff.
This book spans five decades and follows the characters of one family. This would be fine if the main character was at all interesting or interested. She starts out to be a spunky fighter. But She's spoiled, selfish and just darn right cruel at times. I kept hoping to see some spark, some sense of humanity, some sense of growth but I really didn't. As she aged, I still thought of her as a 16 year old.
I have to admit the writing kept me in the book, and kept me turning the pages for the first 2/3 of the book. The part that should have ended the book didn't; she kept going on for a few more decades.. People die, more people are born, life goes on yada yada. Not much to really care for, and I felt I really wasted my time. What was the point of this?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quirky, and written tongue in cheek, with marvellous observation of pre war snobbishness, and social ostracism? A very easy read.Published on 16 Jan. 2013 by Rosianne
Laurie Graham is one of the funniest writers around & The Unfortunates is one of the most amusing of all her amusing books; she has a wonderful talent for wry observation - and... Read morePublished on 6 Sept. 2011 by Mrs Demure
Having been ill in bed I finished this book over a couple of days and really enjoyed it - it's an easy, interesting read; lots of characters, interesting eras and places. Read morePublished on 17 Mar. 2010 by HdeC
Loved this novel. There's a wonderful piece of observation, a tiny quirk of someone's character, a detail of a scene, a mannerism or idiosyncrasy in every line, all written with... Read morePublished on 12 Jun. 2008 by Mrs. I. Cranfield
This was an easy read, if a bit fickle. It left me somewhat dazed at how the wealthy waltzed around, even during the two World Wars, throwing their money around and living like... Read morePublished on 7 May 2008 by DubaiReader
This is a wonderfully addictive novel and I struggled to put it down. Essentially focussing on Poppy as her life and the twentieth century unfolds, Graham creates a world bursting... Read morePublished on 17 May 2006 by Beca