Monsieur Pamplemousse

Title: Monsieur Pamplemousse24843828

Author: Michael Bond

Published: 1983

I saw this book on the shelf in Waterstones and the title immediately caught my attention. After reading the synopsis, I pondered just for a fraction of a second before deciding it was the perfect read for me. Excited, I quickly downloaded it on to my kindle, curled up and began to read.

The story follows Monsieur Pamplemousse, food investigator and detective. Alongside his friend and helper, Pommes Frites, he is excited to be dining at the famed La Langoustine. Things soon begin to turn for the horrid as Pamplemousse digs in to the delicacy of the house. Evidently someone wants him out of the way, but nothing delights Pamplemousse more than getting tangled in the mystery and utilising his skills learnt in his sleuthing days at the Sûreté.

There is no other way for me to describe this book other than Christie meets Wodehouse. There were elements of mystery interposed with adult slapstick humour. The humour presented in this book made me chuckle and at points laugh out loud (much to the annoyance of others in the vicinity). The humour was obviously good but not quite on par with Wodehouse, but then again is anything?

All the characters were delightful in their own way and had brilliant interactions with each other. Pamplemousse and Pommes Frites made a pretty awesome team to say the least. Not only was the comedy brilliantly and skilfully executed, it was fresh, enjoyable and a real delight to read from Pommes Frites’ vantage point.

I was really surprised at the lack of description given about Pamplemousse himself. I mean certain things could certainly be inferred from various comments or thoughts, but there was no solid description of what he looked like. This made it a little difficult to conjure up a vivid image of him.There wasn’t any character development as such but then again it wasn’t really that type of book where you’d expect it, which is absolutely fine.

The mystery side of things was a little bit of a let down in some respects. It started off perfectly and continued to be intriguing. However, the actual ending to the mystery was a tad disappointing. Not only this but it also felt like Pamplemousse hadn’t really solved anything. Yes, he did his own investigating. This ended up in him getting involved in hilarious situations and mishaps, but that was all. I was expecting him to put the pieces together. This wasn’t really the case.

The way the book was written was just simply amazing. Details and pieces of information were given, but not so much as to overwhelm the reader. The food aspect was also enjoyable and perfect for any foodie! Reading about the various dishes made my mouth water.

Overall, an enjoyable light read to break up my reading. Yes it was a tad disappointing but the humour and incredible writing made up for that. I’m in no hurry to read the rest of the series, but will definitely be revisiting it at some point.

Happy Mother’s Day,

Saz

The Wave at Hanging Rock

Title: The Wave at Hanging Rock41ahcifoajl-_sy346_

Author: Gregg Dunnett

Published: 2016

I hadn’t heard of this book until my sister randomly dropped it into our conversation. I read the blurb and needless to say was intrigued by the premise, so I decided to give it a whirl. I must confess I also wanted to read it just to have a book discussion with her!

The premise is as follows-

Jesse tells his coming-of-age story where he brushes off his best friend’s disturbing behaviour. Meanwhile, Natalie’s husband goes missing in circumstances that don’t quite make sense. While searching for him, it seems like she herself has something to hide.

The book started off rather slowly, but eventually picked up and continued at a steady pace. The descriptions given of the places and events happening were solid and enough to create a vivid picture but weren’t too dense to the point of being off-putting. I myself am not a surfer (the idea of me being one is actually quite laughable) yet I enjoyed reading about it and the descriptions helped me to imagine what was happening.

The different narratives were expertly handled and extremely well written. I enjoyed how the narrative would switch from Jesse’s to Natalie’s point of view, as well as changing tenses, as flashbacks were thrown into the mix. I immensely enjoyed the writing style.

Despite having a strong narrative voice throughout the book, one of the biggest issues I had was with the portrayal of the characters and their development (or lack thereof). None of the characters were likeable in the least. I don’t know if that was done on purpose or not. There didn’t seem to be any redeeming qualities, nor were the characters particularly well fleshed out. Furthermore, there was a lack of character development, which also did not bode well. I also found it tremendously difficult to empathize with any of the characters and I honestly couldn’t care less about what happened to them in the end.

In spite of disliking all the characters, I carried on reading simply because I wanted to know how the two stories were linked. I had formed all these different theories in my mind, and naturally wanted to know if I was right! Yet when the big reveal came, I felt a tad disappointed. Maybe I just hoped they would be more intricately connected. Having said that, I must say that the build up to the big revelation was skillfully done.

Towards the end, after it was explained how the two stories interlinked, the book started to drag out a little. The twist right at the end completely threw me off guard. I’m actually still contemplating whether or not I liked it. On one hand I did because it was just so unexpected (I mean I did have my suspicions but quickly dismissed them as they seemed too ludicrous!) but on the other hand, it just seemed to make a whole majority of the book a little pointless. (It’s hard to talk about it without giving away spoilers!)

In conclusion, after finishing reading it and just letting everything soak in, I did question what I had just read – but not in a good way. The ending was left too ambiguous for my taste. I can say that overall I was left a smudge disappointed with this book. To end on a more positive note, I do feel like this book offers a lot to talk about due to the ambiguous nature of the ending.

Saz

 

 

The Rosie Project

Title: The Rosie Project the_rosie_project

Author: Graeme Simsion

Published: 2013

This was a book I did not think I would ever read. I actually mistakenly picked up ‘The Rosie Effect’ from Tesco’s community bookshelf thinking it was the first book in the series. After realising my mistake, I decided to read the ‘The Rosie Project’ simply because the second one had sounded so good and naturally I figured the first one should be just as good – if not better! I quickly downloaded it on to my kindle and began reading it at quite a rapid pace.

Don Tillman, a professor of genetics has never been on a second date. He is someone who believes isn’t wired for romance. Yet after a close friend remarks he would make a ‘wonderful’ husband, Don reconsiders and concedes that statistically speaking there is someone for everyone. And so commences The Wife Project. In an evidence-based manner, Don sets out to find his perfect partner. Enter Rosie Jarman; a woman who does not fit any of Don’s criteria for the perfect partner. On a quest of her own to find her biological father, she needs Don’s help. The Wife Project takes a back seat and an unlikely friendship blooms.

The Rosie Project’ was simply wonderful, quirky and amusing. Don Tillman was by far the cutest protagonist I have ever had the pleasure to come across. Reading from his point of view was just incredible and inspiring to say the least. His voice was charming, witty and adorable. Rosie’s character surprised me right from the get go. She was a fierce, intelligent and beguiling character that went against the grain in many ways. She wasn’t the typical character I was expecting. This incidentally made the book that much more enjoyable. At one particular point of the book, I did feel a surge of anger towards her. This in itself emphasised that she’s not a perfect character, which just gave more of a realistic feel. Character development overall was skilfully done.

I would not say that the plot was typical. I mean, yes you could guess that certain things were coming but as a whole, it was rather fresh. Humour was scattered throughout the book; I lost count of the amount of laugh out moments. I honestly do not recommend reading this book in a public place because I guarantee you will get strange looks for laughing so loud and so frequently. In contrast to the humour, there were some serious moments. These, for me, completed the book.

“And how could I be sure that other people were not doing the same—playing the game to be accepted but suspecting all the time that they were different?”

The best thing about the book for me however, wasn’t surprisingly the characters or the plot. Rather, it was the way mental health was so expertly handled and written about. I felt like Don was portrayed as the prototype of a person with Asperger’s syndrome and therefore quite typical behaviour. However, it was wonderfully written and at all offensive. Some very powerful points are made – especially in the first chapter. On the risk of sounding too clichéd, I’m going to say that this book did make me look at some aspects of mental health differently and broadened my thinking.

“Fault! Asperger’s isn’t a fault. It’s a variant. It’s potentially a major advantage. Asperger’s syndrome is associated with organization, focus, innovative thinking, and rational detachment.”

This was a book that I absolutely adored and felt rather overwhelmed after reading it. It was emotional on an inspiring, optimistic and feel good level. I devoured this book and anytime I wasn’t reading it felt like a bit of a waste of time! Honestly cannot recommend this book enough!

Happy Reading,

Saz

 

 

 

 

One Day

Title: One Day one-day-book-cover

Author: David Nicholls

Published: 2009

This isn’t a book I would usually pick up; in fact it was actually a recommendation from a good friend of mine. Seeing how she recommended ‘Sherlock’ (the TV show) and the book ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ – both of which I loved, I knew that I had to read this book. Wasting no time, I snatched it off the library shelf and began reading.

The story follows Dexter and Emma. They first meet in 1988 on their graduation, and the story continues from there. Snapshots of their lives are revealed each year on 15th July for twenty years. Dexter and Emma face missed opportunities, laughter, love and tears. The crucial meaning behind this specific day is revealed.

Twenty years, Two people, One day.

The concept was simply amazing. Reading about their lives through snapshots of one day per year was really enjoyable and different to other books I’ve read. In fact, the plot itself felt unconventional (if that is the correct word?), and the technique felt sort of like a breath of fresh air.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I’ll always remember it”

The end chapters, which tied everything up, were written in a beautiful manner. However the ending was not expected at all; it was bittersweet. On some level I understand the reason for it to end the way it did, yet on another level I feel it was sort of unnecessary.

One of the biggest issues I had with this book was regarding the protagonists – Dexter and Emma. They certainly had their moments across the book, yet as a whole, they weren’t likeable at all. I felt frustrated, annoyed and confused at their decisions, interactions and relationship. Their relationship admittedly was rather complex but at points I felt like it a little pointless and downright strange. The evolution of it can be argued as being realistic, but at times I honestly wondered ‘why do these two people even like each other?’

“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today. And then it was over.”

There seemed to be little to none character development (until right at the end), which also did not stick well with me. When I read a book, firstly, I want to like the protagonists. By no means does this have to happen straight away; by all means it can happen a few chapters in or whatever. But no way do I want to end a book and realise that actually none of the characters were likeable. Secondly, there has to be some sort of character development throughout the book, otherwise the characters for me don’t really have depth.

Overall, it was not really my type of book and I’m actually unsure if I would directly recommend this. It was realistic in a (bitter) way, something I’m not really sure that I like. Effectively, I read books to escape reality – not to read about someone’s reality that could easily be my own reality. However, I can say with confidence that if the characters had been more likeable, I would have definitely enjoyed this one more. Basically, this was a confusing read for me but I honestly do not regret reading at all – it was something different.

Happy Friday,

Saz