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Saturday 14 May 2016

Not to Us by Katherine Owen


I admire every single person who writes a book. I may not like the book, it may have faults, but I can’t ever take away from an author that he or she has poured out thousands of words to fulfil a dream to pen a novel. Truly admirable.

So, here’s the thing: the key word there is the ‘a’ in 'a great idea'. I can’t help thinking that this author scribbled down a number of ideas and thought, I know, I’ll put them all into one book. Result? Idea overload. (Which stretched to covers as well: I've seen four for this book.)  Can you have too much drama in one book? Quite possibly. 

Ellie’s husband has an affair with her best friend. The big C rears its ugly head. Ellie marries best friend’s husband. That’s probably enough to make a pretty good story, but no, let’s throw in two tragic deaths, a pregnancy, infidelity (yes, more) and you find yourself pretty stuffed after this smorgasbord of cheesiness.

And now, just to confuse you…despite what I’ve said, I…er…actually quite enjoyed it. (quite…let’s not get too carried away). 

I found it a little hard to understand how Ellie seemed to be able to have men…three of them…falling at her feet. She was full of cancer and babies and not much personality, and yet they were all declaring undying love for her. It was all a bit mushy, despite dealing with some pretty full-on issues, and none of the characters were developed enough. It was hard to like, or even dislike, any of them.

Four things irritated me: the repetitive ‘bodacious tah tahs’. First time was amusing. The second, a little less. The third raised a titter. But after the seventeenth time, I’d had enough. I was also a little irked by the habit-of-stringing-a-whole-sentence-together-with-hyphens-to-make-it-an-adjective. Thirdly, this was written in the first person, present tense. It didn’t work. The (huge) issues in this book were ones dealt with by different people in different ways: I didn't perceive the gamut of emotions of the other characters, because of the first person POV and present tense. Lastly, the main character, Ellie, is an editor. A pity she didn’t edit her own book. There are a number of grammatical and punctuation howlers.

I really can’t quite fathom why I found it such a compelling read! Apart from the afore-mentioned annoyances, this author does write rather well. There was something about this work that drew me in, and ultimately, it was an effortless read.

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