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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 August 2012
A fantastic read! The story of Eric, a normal bloke, mid 40s, terrified of flying and swimming (amongst other things), riddled with insecurities, cat lover, father, divorced with red hair- a nice guy who loves his work as a Librarian, particularly as it gives him the opportunity to reach out to people through book clubs and poetry sessions. Always making plans to provide library services for the benefit of those less fortunate (prisoners, mentally ill, homeless) - he is one of life's unsung and unnoticed heroes = just a very ordinary chap.

Nothing in life ever seems to go right for Eric; he really does have a run of bad luck, turning him into a very lonely man who looks upon himself as one of life's losers. We soon learn that all he wants out of life for himself is to love and be loved, and to be part of a family.

The story unfolds gently but fluidly and we really get to know Eric as we watch him face knock back after knock back. As it progresses we learn more and more about his heart breaking childhood which sowed the seeds for the vast majority of his insecurities in adulthood. We watch as he learns to start conquering his fears and adopting the philosophy of accepting and facing up to the bad things that happened to him in life, making him a stronger person. I loved Eric unconditionally; he made me laugh, cry and nod my head in agreement at so many of his observations on life, and I had my fingers crossed throughout the book for a happy ending for him.

It is beautifully written with an ending which was very poignant, moving and satisfying without being predictable.

Highly recommended.
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on 23 August 2014
The blurb of this book claims some people will love its central character, Eric, but also warns that some people will want to shake him for his passivity. Having read the thing, I suspect most people will chose option three: put the book down and never return to it because it lacks a compelling story.

So, Eric. An idealogical Librarian. Some things happen - he goes on a date, he sets up a prison book club, he expects his daughter to visit from the US.

Some other things happen - he eats soup, he rides a bike, he recounts his childhood.

Then some other things happen.

Then some other things than that happen.

Although well written if rather old fashioned in Eric's language - jarring because of his age - it never manages to recover from its own lack of direction. The final chapters in particular are poor, the dialogue stilted - it could have worked beautifully as a punchline, but it's played straight and is, for my taste, unbearably naff.

1.5 stars because it's well written and some of the chapters are good.
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on 28 January 2013
I really couldn't get 'into' this novel. I had high hopes for it- the first chapter is written rather well which drew me in - but as the story progresses there really is very little in the way of plot and character development. The main character, Eric Parkhill, is not endearing and I struggled to 'remain with him' throughout the novel but I soldiered on through. His status as a foundling (an abandoned baby) greatly impacts upon his life, his relationships and his sense of self and annoyingly the author constantly reminds you of his foundling status nearly every other page that you just want to tell to her that 'we as readers are intelligent beings and we can make connections ourselves without having the obvious (that he is a foundling and a wreck of a person because of it) pointed out to us every other page'. There is A LOT of superfluous detail in this novel which needs to be waded through to get to the plot (which is in itself somewhat thin). This could have been a great novel but for me it lacked a lot of punch. I give this book 2.5 stars out of 5 and do not recommend it.
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on 15 April 2013
This novel came up on my kindle as a recommendation. I had not read anything by this author before so I thought I would try it. I'm so glad I did. The story revolves around a librarian, Eric Parkhill, whose marriage has broken up. The tale begins with him looking for a new partner and it appears that is what the book is about but it moves on with the story unfolding over many layers. Eric is a much deeper character than one is originally led to believe. When he finds romance it's not what it seems. In fact Eric is not what he seems. I really enjoyed this book. It is so well written, extremely insightful and very humorous. I shall certainly be reading more of Wendy Perriam's work.
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on 5 September 2012
Another beautiful and very poignant book from Wendy Perriam. I was lucky enough to get it when it was on a cheap promo and I'm so glad I've rediscovered this author. She writes with compassion mixed with humour and quite often some sex thrown in and I love her style. This book is no exception. She paints a picture of a lonely, awkward man that you probably wouldn't look at twice if you passed him in the street, but through her beautiful writing, you come to care deeply for him and to understand what a wonderful person he is. Quality writing.
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on 15 November 2013
I have to say for the most part this was a good read, but did find in some areas that I did "fast page" turning as it did seem to waffle on a bit over things. The whole layout of the storyline was ok, and I did feel sorry for Eric for being so gullible and lonely. It did lack some depth though, but it is one of those books that I think a person would have to read for themselves to see for themselves.
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on 23 September 2012
Its not often I dont read a book all the way to the end, but I only got about half way through this one before I gave it up. Granted its not my usual read, I bought it because I wanted to try something different. It wasnt the writting, but the main character that put me off. I found him seedy and a bit too pathetic, if I'd met him in real life I think he would make me squirm. A strange character particularly coming from a female author I thought.
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on 1 February 2013
The first novel I have read by this author and I will look for more of her books. I actually gave it 3.5 stars, but felt that some of the characters and situations were a bit cliched which stopped me scoring it more highly. There were times when I wanted to strangle Eric and other times I wanted to hug him but I was interested in his story and wanted to find out how his story worked out.
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on 31 March 2015
After the despairing start the book picks up pace and becomes mildly humorous and touching in places. A main character that infuriates.
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on 24 November 2013
I was enjoying the hapless Eric at first, even though he did have sex on the brain - which was starting to irritate me a bit. The bit where he goes to America turned a bit preachy. Wendy Perriam seemed to want to get a message across. It was a message I happen to agree with, but it bogged the story down a bit in my opinion. Fairly amusing in places, not great literature, but pretty good.
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