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Still not sure what to make of it
on 27 January 2014
I finished this a few days ago and still can't quite make up my mind. On the postive side - it's a good read and you do want to keep turning the pages. But what is it? It's full of caricatures, rather than real characters. It's funny but it's not a black comedy. I think it's problem is that it wants to be taken seriously as a 'moral thriller', as Philip Pullman says on the cover, but it doesn't quite make it. Comparisons to Dickens are completely OTT. Dickens could get away with characters who are almost caricatures of types of people, because he made them real and you believed in them. You can't do that with Meek's cast - engaging and amusing though some of them are. The morality is too simplistic - too stark, too black and white. Real morality is much more complex and real people are just, well more real than this set of collection of rather superficial characters. It would have been better done as black comedy. It almost makes it: Richie - the talent show slimeball; Bec - Miss Goodietwoshoes; Alex - the scientist with a touch of Aspergers; and Val the hypocritical News of the World-style moralistic editor.