BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: The Radleys by Matt Haig

Book Blurb:  Meet the Radleys

Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret

From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites

My Thoughts: I had a hard time getting into this book, it just didn't capture my attention. I probably would have put it down and moved onto another book if I hadn't agreed to write a review of it. The book isn't awful, though it is a bit dry. The humor is understated, which is fine; subtle can be good. But it felt at times as if there was nothing for me to sink my teeth into. That's not to say that the book is light and fluffy. Just the opposite in fact, it tackles such weighty topics as secrets and lies and the damage they do even when well-intentioned, relationships (familial, romantic and communal), and the consequences, both forseeable and unforseeable, of our decisions. Most books have something that catches my attention - humor, the characters, the storyline, etc. This book...not so much.

     For instance, I never really cared about the characters or what happened to them. I did come close with the teenagers, Rowan Radley and his sister Clara Radley (actually, I kept envisioning teenage Clara as a grown-up version of the 2 year old Clara in my pre-school class :D) I could empathize with their peer trouble. But for the most part, it didn't matter to me what happened.  
     I think part of the problem, for me, was that the author tried to tackle too much. In addition to the above mentioned topics, we also have Mr & Mrs Radley's mid-life (so to speak) crisis, and a mystery or two. Stylewise, there are multiple narrative view points. Actually, that last worked reasonably well; there were only a few instances where it was unclear which character was narrating. I know some readers don't like multiple narrators but it usually doesn't bother me and it didn't in this book. However I do think that the lack of focus on one narrator, as well as the broad focus on multiple characters, helped contribute to my inability to connect with the book.

     Overall, for me, this book was "meh".

Publisher:        US: Free Press                     UK: Cannongate Books Ltd.

Release Date: US: December 28, 2010      UK: July 1, 2010

More Info: goodreads

This paperback was received from the publisher for review.


  1. I just read a really positive review of this on someone else's blog. I think I'll give it a go and see what I think of it.

  2. Sam, if the book interests you, by all means check it out. For me, a review is a guideline and a source of info about the book. It's up to the reader to decide if the book is worth their time to find and read.

    I'll be interested in hearing what you think of it.


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