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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 11 January 2001
I used to live in the UK and had heared Ben Elton on BBC, both TV and radio. I always wanted to read some of his books. So during my last visit to London I just grabbed it off the shelf in a bookshop without knowing anything about it, just that it was by Ben Elton. Over the Christmas season I had time to indulged. I read it in a very short time, it so gripped me. I laughed so much at times,I cried till my tummy hurt. The way he contrasts his and her feelings were just too real. I could identify, if not with the subject, but surely with the gender pictures he paints. Also his insight into 'the inner workings of the BBC, especially since 'outsourcing' has become common, is very well communicate. I learnd a lot about the subject of infertility and being entertained at the same time. The language of the story reminded me very much of my time in the UK and I can only recommend it if you need a good and hard laugh. As a result of reading this book I will buy some of his other books as well.
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on 8 January 2002
This is one of the best books I have ever read simply because it made me laugh,cry and sent me on an emotional rollercoaster which most books simply cannot achieve. Certainly a book I'll be re-reading.
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2005
"Inconceivable" is probably familiar to many readers through the film version , "Maybe Baby". Well, I haven't actually seen the film, so I came fresh to the novel, and I'm very glad that I did. This is just possibly my favourite of all Elton's novels.
There's no mystery, no murders in this one. Its an unashamedly sentimental story of a relationship between a husband and wife who, for reasons they nor anybody else are able to understand, seem unable to have a baby.
Sam and Lucy Bell are both media types. Sam is a commissioning editor for the BBC, while Lucy works as an assistant to a theatrical agent. The interesting premise behind the book is that one of the many people they have consulted about their problem has told them to try to get in touch with their feelings about the situation more by writing in a book about their feelings every day, but not to show it to the other. So throughout the novel you have the two viewpoints of each event, one in normal type, the other in italic. It's a good narrative device, and Elton exploits it richly for its comic value, and also for genuine pathos.
It's a book about love, and especially about betrayal, which takes surprising forms in the narrative. I did worry, as the end approached, that Elton might cop out. I'm glad to say that he didn't, and it's a highly satisfying read. But be warned- although very funny ( in places I laughed out loud ) its also very serious, and moving. A box of tissues should be kept on standby when you read it.
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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2006
Ben Elton taps his personal career to produce a book centered around a couple working at the BBC. The entire book is formed from the couple's personal diaries, created to help then deal with the difficulty of getting pregnant. As per usual, the Elton brand of wit is sharp, rude and cutting edge, hitting on the taboo areas of our everyday lives most people don't feel comfortable talking about. It's interesting reading since Elton never hints at where he's leading you, or to about which subject he will open up like a can of worms next. The charactisation will make you ask questions of yourself as Elton is uncanny in his portrayal of human psychology and behaviour - it's very Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. So far, it's all good news. However, I did find that the actual flow of the book was somewhat impeded by the Diary Entry form of the book. Overall it's a good read; which is on-the-ball with cultural events and humour, but the format, although original, prevents real immersion and gets rather stale towards the end.
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on 5 July 2000
I have read all of Ben Elton's book, but this one stands out because it doesn't have the same sense of delivering a 'message'. Yes, relationships should be based on trust and communication, but luckily this comes over in a much more subtle way than the eco-themes of Stark, This Other Eden and Gridlocked, even Blast From The Past had the authority vs anti-authority themes associated with Ben's early stand-up days. For Inconceivable Ben's definitely grown up, his characters are a lot more sympathetic, and if it wasn't for the fact that he's always seemed to be able to 'get inside' a woman's head I'd be asking his wife where she kept her diary! The only problem I had was that a lot of the little scenes in the book I already knew off by heart from when the guested in his stand-up show, it threw me off track slightly to be reminded that Ben Elton the author is also Ben Elton the stand-up comic. But overall I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a laugh, but isn't afraid to think a bit too.
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on 26 June 2000
This is a brilliant book. I couldn't care less abouth the subject he deals with (infertility), and surrounding myself mostly with people under 30, neither can most of my friends. But it still manages to be funny. I generally do not laugh a lot, but I laughed out loud at several passages in this book. Ben Eltons straight-forward and obvious statements about everyday-life situations are incarnated funnyness. And he managed to make me care about wether or not two fictious characters get themselves a baby. I read it in two days. The reason it "only" gets four stars is because Ben Elton has done better in the past. The joke-density is much higher in his earlier work, and for a first-time Ben Elton-reader I would suggest "This Other Eden". But eventually everybody deserves to get around to reading this book. Enjoy!
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I once tried to read a Ben Elton book and failed. I hated the fact that the characters just seemed to be vehicles for whichever political rant Elton chose to go off on at that point. In this book that ranting element is still there but toned down by a much needed sense of humanity and a real feeling for human frailty. I think part of the reason I enjoyed it was that the subject matter was very close to my heart and I know how real some of Lucy and Sam's feelings were. I thought Lucy's voice was very good and was impressed that the whole book didn't come across as blokey, although it was interesting to hear Sam's story too. There were also a few really funny moments, where I actually laughed out loud, much to my amazement.
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on 24 April 2004
A few years ago i lost both my tubes due to 2 ectopic pregnancies. So nowi can only have a baby through IVF. There are many scarry stories aboutthe stress level of IVF so i decided to read this book to help destressand make me feel less alone in needing help. IT WORKED. This book isbrilliant. Touching, sencertive and understanding. Ben Elton at his bestin my opinion. No one else could have written such a funny and enjoyablebook about something as heart breaking as infertility. Everyone shouldread it, even if you dont need help conceiving.
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on 10 October 2001
I don't particularly care for Ben Elton as a comic and I would probably not have purchased any of his books. But when my son spent the first 2 days of his holiday engrossed in "Inconceivable", I decided to give it a go. What a revelation - I disturbed everyone round the poolside as I shreiked with laughter (the squirrel scene was a particular triumph) but this was balanced by Elton's real insights into the darker side of IVF. I would never have imagined that he could be so perceptive.
A great book - I am recommending it to all my friends.
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on 4 May 2016
It took me a bit of time to get into this book; although the idea of alternating diary entries from husband and wife is a neat way of presenting two perspectives, I found it rather slowed things down, especially when I had to read about the same incident twice, from each narrator. I think it could have benefited from a few cuts here and there. The story itself is pretty predictable for much of the book, but towards the end there are a few twists to liven it up. But it does a good job of describing sometimes very sad moments with plenty of humour.
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