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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 19 April 2001
I laughed all the way through this strange and unusual book. Not my usual thriller, murder mystery type thing but I read the blurb and was intrigued by the huge heroine and the fact it's set in the early 80's. Barker has created the strangest family with the most human and cringeworthy ideosyncracies. You fall about laughing whilst hiding your head under the bed sheets in shame at the antics of them all.Essentially a girl's romp through teenage love and sex. Usually light hearted, intelligent beautifully written, bizarre and great fun.
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on 18 May 2001
This is a great novel about nothing and everything. Nicola Barker's great strength is in her similees and metaphors which are funny, wise and imaginative. If you want a great plot then you'd be better off skip[ping this, but if you want a rites of passage drama swathed in an offbeat style and fairly eccentric humour, then this is for you. It's also got a belting title.
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on 2 July 2001
What a strange book. I thought the first few pages were hilarious. The descriptions and the drawing of the characters promised much. I really warmed to the thought of poodle, [...] but she quite quickly disapeared from the story. What we got was a very strange South African, who for unexplained reasons wore a balaclava. Can't say I warmed to him. Altogether I would give it 4 stars, some good characters and a great ending. Also the original cover with the Black plastic centipede was brilliant, why did they change it ??? (-:
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on 1 March 2004
Nicola Barker's style is so in your face that it should feel contrived - but it so obviously comes from the heart that it ends up being rather wonderful instead. She's in love with the possibility of language (or almost drunk with it?), cramming her sentences with adjectives and repetitions. It should be tedious, but instead she's lovebly anarchistic, quirkily offbeat, joyously irreverent (see, it's contagious) - and she makes it all look so easy. Nothing makes sense in her view of the world, and still you can recognise it perfectly. What can you say? Nicola Barker, she's barking, and we love her for it.
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on 27 November 2000
There's an element of nostalgia about this story that'll endear it most to people born in the same year as the author, but it's themes are pretty universal. It's set in a small island of the coast of England in 1981, and the changes going on in society are reflected in those going on in the lives of it's protagonists. It has a feeling of being written from experience, and I'd love to know how autobiographical it is. It's got some wonderful touches of humour and it's written in prose that glides along, but some serious issues are addressed too.
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on 6 March 2000
I was drawn to buying this book because the cover intrigued me. What sort of book would include somewhere in its story a red plastic centipede, I pondered? Quite a lot, as it turned out. I haven't read any of Nicola Barker's other books but I think I will do that after reading this. If you love quirky, eccentric stories with quirky, eccentric characters, you will certainly endear to this book and everyone in the narrator's family.
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on 14 February 2016
interesting but not the best of nicola barker
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on 25 February 2001
A tasteless, silly, soap opera, boy-meets-girl-and-they-live-happily-ever-after book except that its language is unnecessarily rude and vulgar. Besides it tries to be funny, but - frankly, my dear - I can't see any fun in jokes about pee and vomiting.
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