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Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meltdown - sadly, yes, 4 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Meltdown (Paperback)
My two favourite comedy authors are Tom Sharpe and Ben Elton. Or were. I felt badly let down by Sharpe when his awful "The Gropes" came out recently. Ben Elton's "Meltdown" is for me an even greater diasppointment. At least The Gropes, printed in huge, bold type and with blank pages everywhere between the four-page chapters, was over quickly. And you saw the rip-off coming. Meltdown, in contrast, is a seriously long read at nigh on 500 pages.

Early on Elton introduces his cast of ghastly characters from the upwardly mobile Notting Hill crowd. (Oh what a joy it is to live like me in rural Shropshire!) They are all thick, bossy, and either ludicrously rich or mortally impoverished, with largely glamorous but downtrodden women who inexplicably seem to adore their menfolk. Thereafter it's page after page, chapter after chapter, of relentless, tedious, dreary conversatons between this unlovely bunch as they trot out time-worn cliche after cliche about banking, politics, the joys and evils of money and the problem, when cash is short, of bringing up children without nannies and au pairs. There's even a thoroughly patronising look at state education through the eyes of an eight years old boy (co-incidentally also his father's mental age) when forced to leave his private school.

Just as you are thinking it can't possibly get worse - unless Maggie herself turns up at one of the dinner parties with Lenin for a discussion of state intervention and free school meals, along comes new blood. Yes, it's the token homo Elton had forgotten to include in the original cast, and he turns out to be the biggest bore of the lot. Perhaps this is why the once great author tires of him after a page or two and we are back with MPs' expenses and, horror of horrors, a long homily on how you must, once in his or her life, allow your child to cry itself to sleep in the absence of the nanny.

It's as though Elton has hired Richard Littlejohn to do the politics, and Polly Filla of Eye to cover the childen.

I am sorry to say I lost the will to read on at around page 400, when two of the central characters decided to resolve their financial worries by writing novels, following the excellent example of, say, Jeffrey Archer and J K Rowling. Will it work? Do you know, I couldn't care less!

So uniquely, I am reviewing as book I have not completed reading. But nothing in the remaining few pages could compensate me for the grinding boredom so far, and I am not wasting any more time on this one.
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S. Evans
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Location: England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 68,656