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Plot gone mad!
on 15 March 2006
What a deeply silly book. I laughed out loud for all the wrong reasons. Barr's previous works have been kind of 'chick lit thrillers' in that they are very plot driven, with delicious twists and reveals that keep the reader's unblinking interest.
But Atlantic Shift is just plotting gone mad. Far too much happens, and none of it is described in any depth at all. Our main character is a total cow one minute, and the next she's so sweet, she's forming deep relationships with people as random as her best friends fertility doctor.
There are far too many characters (her flatmates' parents? Why would we care??) and none of them ever really make it up off the page.
The dialogue is jarringly bad, with all of the characters delivering information in the style of a cheap soap opera. A character will use silly intensifiers such as 'enormously pretty' and then on the next page another character will use the same word.
The books premise isn't anything like what you are led to expect from the blurb, and the whole classical musician stuff seems silly and made-up.
There are so many plot lines all careering along so quickly that the ending is basically a car crash of an 'epilogue' that offers zero insight into why anybody's character acted in the way they did.
And how did Evie manage to be such a cow, when both her sets of parents are so sympathetic? And how did she manage to go 15 years without seeing her father and her step mum, when they are so loving and nice?
And why did Jack fly across the Atlantic, only to cheerfully walk away after a five minute conversation that could have been conducted by telephone? Silly, silly, silly.
This book encompasses issues including celebrity, music, stalkers, infertility, underage pregnancy, alcoholism, suicide, stalking, domestic violence, adoption, drink driving, tabloid journalism and god knows what else. It's a big messy hotch potch in which minor characters become major with no explanation, and major characters drop off the page in similar fashion.
I read it to the end to see if it would get any better but it didn't.
Did Emily Barr, the author of Baggage, actually write this nonsense? I struggle to comprehend it.