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Thursday 16 July 2020

A LIttle Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes

A few jarring things in this book. There was a rather endearing preamble to the book by the publishers. It was quite original: in a nutshell patting themselves on their backs for finding such a gem of a debut book. That's fine. Then why couldn't you find yourselves better editors to do it justice? It's not asking much. Just someone who can use the right pronouns: 'Matthew can give Kit and I some coins.'  Really? 'Can give I'???  Someone who can tell the difference between an adverb and an adjective. Someone who knows there is no such thing as 'was sat'. And someone who doesn't pluralise surnames with an apostrophe: the Mace's and the Cadogan's. Seriously? And the rest.

Secondly, present-tense narrative ruins the book. I'm not a fan of PTN, in fact, I hate it, and I try to overlook it, but in this case, no. 

This started life as a short story. I'm not so sure it shouldn't have stayed that way. Padding it out into a full-length novel resulted in it being confusing and really stretching my staying power. Too many references to unidentified 'hims', 'hers', 'its' make it hard to keep up. 

The story is in first-person POV, Robyn, with a dual timescale: 1976 (you will only remember that particular unique summer if you are over 40) and 1988. 

The characters are bland, one-dimensional and not at all likeable…Robyn is even a bit irritating, her brother, Kit, only a little less so. There's little to identify where the story takes place: it could be anywhere in the world and there's too much telling and not enough showing. 

I must admit, however, that I was compelled to get to the oh-is-that-it ending. Mind you, that may not be saying much as I'm not a DNF person. I will finish a book notwithstanding.

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