Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
Lots of promise but lacking somewhat in depth
on 19 April 2012
I love the title of this book and between that and the gushing reviews I hoped for far much more than I felt was delivered. I was disappointed that there was so little of the essence of Sierra Leone in the book. In fact it could have been set in any post war environment. Comparing this to 'cutting for Stone' which featured Ethiopia as almost another character I felt it was a missed opportunity to bring another aspect to the story. The concept of the memory of love as portrayed in the novel however is fascinating and the various love stories were interesting enough to hold my attention. But I felt what wasn't written left a huge emotional hole. Adrian was married and had a child yet he so easily forgot about them for a new love interest. Why? Somehow I felt that might have been a more interesting story - it certainly was something that needed to be investigated. To me the male characters lacked realism and a proper depth of understanding.
The perceptive descriptions of ex-pats along the way were wonderful, giving me a taste for the life of the outsiders in the country and the (more than likely very understandable and accurate) reactions of the locals.
For me the book was far too long and meandered needlessly at points. What was the purpose of the patient who was found wandering about regularly? So much of the book was taken up with her story which was subsequently dumped abruptly at the end. I would have either fleshed that out or left it out entirely. It winded up just being a long winded distraction by the end. The story could have been tighter with fewer coincidences and a little more soul.
Over all, a good book but not a great one. I wouldn't recommend it.