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on 13 April 2017
Just enjoyed,how nice for mr.Booker.Liked the casual read.I was kept interested and wondered,could this really happen.How about Mrs.Booker,surely she wasn't that dim.
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on 25 November 2012
This is a book I wish I could have read slower because the writing was so enjoyable but equally I rushed to consume the story as it is a tale well told. I found the style to be evocative and spare, being able to convey so much with just enough words is an accomplishment that marks a talented author and I look forward to more from Cory Taylor. The story is simple, the characters fully formed and credible, the dialogue fresh and full of wry humour.
I know it is already one of my favourites because I've found myself quoting lines from it.
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Me and Mr Booker, Cory Taylor's first novel, has been described as a coming of age novel. Martha is sixteen and tells people she is emotionally scarred from her parents' marriage break-up. She considers her unemployed (and seemingly unemployable) father, Victor, mad, and in a frightening rather than an amusing way. Her mother, Jessica, a teacher, throws parties every weekend to ward off the boredom and loneliness of weekends, and her older brother Eddie is away in New Guinea. In this dysfunctional atmosphere, Martha finds herself waiting for something to happen in her life. As luck will have it, that something is Mr Booker: English, sophisticated, charming and impossible to resist, despite the fact that he comes complete with a wife. Very little is learned about Mr Booker (and never his first name) until the last chapter: the very last line of the book reveals much.
Taylor expertly captures the feel of the dull country town, the sense of boredom and even hopelessness. She lets us inside the mind of a sixteen-year-old girl, one who feels "old" because of her parents' attitude and the way men have started to look at her. Her affair with Mr Booker seems inevitable, and Taylor builds the tension throughout the book, giving the reader a sense of "this can't end well". This tension is regularly eased by the witty repartee between the characters. As well as this, Victor's delusions and his letters to Jessica, full of inappropriately grandiloquent language, are quite a source of humour. Some of his later letters are, unintentionally, truly hilarious.
Taylor gives us believable characters and authentic dialogue. As we join Martha's journey towards adulthood and maturity, it is hard not to hope she finds her way without too much heartbreak. The last page, a touching ending, has the reader wondering who really has the power over whom? Me and Mr Booker is funny, sexy, moving: altogether a great read. Let us hope Cory Taylor has more like this one to share with her readers.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 December 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a book with real personality in its narrative voice. Martha is 16 in a small nowhere-town in Australia - and knows that men are starting to look at her in a certain way. In a bid to escape her dysfunctional family, she's drawn to the `glamorous' English Bookers - and is soon involved in her first sexual affair.

Martha's voice is ebullient and honest as she negotiates adulthood in the face of her parents' messy divorce, her absent older brother, and various family friends. Taylor is very clever in the way she layers Martha's view of Mr Booker with our response to this 34-year old man with his white linen suits, red handkerchiefs, equally provincial background and corny double-entendres. And I liked that this doesn't make anyone into a simple, one-dimensional character.

Beneath the animated surface of this book is a sad story of disappointed lives as people struggle with disillusionment, regret, frustration and failure. And we're left at the end not completely sure whether Martha herself has escaped this fate or not. Recommended.
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on 29 November 2012
Set in a small Australian town, "Me and Mr Booker" is about an affair between 16 year old schoolgirl Martha, the book's narrator, and a 32 year old married university teacher from Britain called Mr Booker. Cory Taylor captures the voice of a 16 year old and the frustration she feels at living in a small town very well. That restless yearning to grow up, move out, and see the world is something a lot of people can relate to and Martha is a convincingly real person.

The novel explores the angle that young people, particularly teenagers, feel that they know everything and see things more clearly than their elders. Through Martha's narration, we see a more complex relationship between Mr and Mrs Booker than the simplistic "he's unhappy with his wife" motif that Martha imagines. Martha's naivety is highlighted through her constantly asking Mr Booker when he will leave his wife, when they will start their new life together, and it's painfully clear to the reader that Martha really doesn't understand the nature of their relationship or much at all about Mr and Mrs Booker's.

But the novel is too long. At 220 pages, it's not a long book but despite this brevity the book felt overlong by half. Once Taylor establishes the main characters, they continue in their way straight through until the end with little variation. Martha doesn't seem to change much and neither do the other characters. This stasis isn't helped by a lack of plot, and the novel meanders aimlessly repeating sex scenes, clandestine meetings, and secrets hidden in public appearances. It gets very tired after a while.

There also isn't a single likeable character in the book. Martha is bratty, deluded and a tool. Mr Booker is worse because he's just a loser. He drinks, says horribly boring things which he and Martha think are terribly funny - his character is such a tedious bore. Mrs Booker is a pitiful character rather than likeable, she's used as much as Martha. And then there are Martha's parents: her emotionally damaged mother hopelessly in thrall to her separated husband, the reprehensible sponge and intellectually vacuous Victor, Martha's father, who spends the book pursuing one pointless venture after another, borrowing money from Martha's mother only to waste it away. The book is well written but when you don't like any of the characters, it makes reading it that much harder.

"Me and Mr Booker" looks at the world of adult relationships through the eyes of someone who is still a child with the body of an adult and, while this is an interesting conceit, Taylor doesn't do enough in the novel to justify its length. The story could've been told much more quickly and the reader spared the company of such boring and annoying characters. They are a gallery of hopeless idiots I couldn't begin to like and by the end of the novel I'd lost all interest in their sad lives. If you've not read "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, I would suggest reading that if you're interested in this kind of story but I wouldn't recommend reading "Me and Mr Booker".
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Martha is sixteen and lives in a small Australian town. While I'm not sure when the book was set, my impression was that it was probably in the 1980s. Her parents have split, she is precocious and bored, desperate to escape. An English couple aged in their 30s come to live in the town and befriend her and her mother. To Martha the fact that they are from England makes them exotic and glamorous (she is immune to the fact that they hail from a small town on the Welsh border and his parents live in a caravan park). Martha and Mr Booker begin an affair.

This is a very well written book and I admired it tremendously but the sordid nature of their relationship and the way that everyone in the novel was so dislikeable prevented me from really loving it. This is more a reflection on me than on the book. The author captures Martha perfectly - her world-weariness and sense of sophistication, while being far less sophisticated than she realises. The insights into the Bookers - which Martha is oblivious to - are also well portrayed. A clever and memorable novel. I just wished I'd liked it more.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Australian schoolgirl Martha describes her affair with a thirty-four year old married man.

Enthusiastic reviews whetted my appetite, but I emerged from the novel bitterly disappointed. Unlike other readers, I detected no wit, no substance. Why are so many characters so shallow and irritating, Martha herself with a lifestyle which surely should provoke considerable concern? Object of her crush, Mr. Booker, comes over as a drunken poseur, prone to trite utterances. Heading other annoyances is Victor, Martha's waste-of-space, ever-sponging dad.

In the midst of it all is a reference to "losers with nowhere to go", which seems a good summing up actually.

Here is proof of how widely opinions can differ. Be assured that others have enjoyed a fine read. On this occasion, sadly, I did not.
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on 28 November 2012
I made a mistake with this one, influenced by the positive reviews. I hate giving up once I have begun a book, so I persisted to the end hoping that something good might happen, but I wasted my time as clearly this book was not written for someone like me! Me and Mr Booker is a thoroughly depressing story about the systematic corruption of a naive and vulnerable teenager by a drunken and sleazy older man. There is really nothing much to like about any of the characters. Perhaps fans of Eastenders or Big Brother would find something in this book, but for people seeking an enjoyable read this is definitely one to be avoided.
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
WINNER: Commonwealth Book Prize, Pacific Region 2012.

I saw this book reviewed and discussed at the beginning of 2011 in Australia and the way it was talked about made me want to read it for myself as I was intrigued. Martha, the "me" in the title is 16 when the book starts, and she lives in a small town in NSW. There are no specifics given as to which town or even what year the book is set in, but various clues would suggest some time in the 1980s. Her parents are unusual to say the least, her brother is mostly absent and her town is boring "a cemetery with lights". She also doesn't have many friends or a social life. New people enter her mother's social circle in the form of Mr and Mrs Booker and the story is mainly about Martha and Mr Booker (as the title would suggest) how their relationship progresses and the consequences of it. Basically she's a bored teenager looking for adventure and a more exciting life. The writing is at times very tongue in cheek and at others very matter of fact (in particular the sexual aspects of the story). I enjoyed it and after the rave Australian reviews, it did not disappoint me but I appreciate that it will not be to everyone's taste. I give it 4/5.
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2012
This is a coming of age novel although Martha seems so old already because of the disfunctional relationship between her mother and father.
She is an adult legally so Mr Booker is doing nothing really wrong but there is the overriding feeling that everything he does is streaked through with pure badness.
The book is written in the first person by Martha sometimes from the future looking back when she has already experienced some of life.
Martha does not have any options. She is stuck in a dull town with no friends and a difficult family. Mr Booker gives her a choice which she grabs.
I found the style of writing abrupt and was not convinced that the language used was that of the character that Martha had been set up to be. Maybe the book would have been better if it had been written in the third person when more tension could have been created and we could have got to know the other characters more. It ended up as somewhere between a tense thriller and a heart wrenching memoir but could have been a better book if it were one or the other.
Still worth a read though if you enjoy emotional stories.
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