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1 Muffin Book Reviews

Review of ‘Katherine Carlyle’ by Rupert Thomson

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It was a struggle to get through this book if I’m completely honest, I found myself finding other things to do beside reading because I would just go into a daze and zone out of the story because of how uncaptivating it was!

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘Katherine Carlyle’ by Rupert Thomson

In the late 80s, Katherine Carlyle is created using IVF. Stored as a frozen embryo for eight years, she is then implanted in her mother and given life. By the age of nineteen Katherine has lost her mother to cancer, and feels her father to be an increasingly distant figure. Instead of going to college, she decides to disappear, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing-ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scene for a courageous leap from false empowerment to true empowerment.

Written in the beautifully spare, lucid and cinematic prose that Thomson is known for, Katherine Carlyle uses the modern techniques of IVF and cryopreservation to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about where we come from, what we make of ourselves, and how we are loved.

My Review

Katherine Carlyle is a novel I would class under fictional literature for adults (mainly because of some themes and language used). Set in various places, starting in Rome, moving to Berlin, Russia and Norway, this book follows Katherine on her travels to escape her old life and start afresh. The events are told through her pojt of view, which sometimes got very confusing when she was talking about what her father was/could be doing, as she was not with him throughout the entire story. The story was the kind of story where there wasn’t really anything to predict, because nothing seemed to ever happen. The ending was by no means climactic, and overall, the whole story was extremely flat. The pace was very slow, mainly because it wasn’t really heading anywhere, and as a whole, it was quite an unrealistic tale.

It was difficult to have a favourite character in a book so dull, and I can’t remember half of their names anyway. The character’s actions contributed to the unrealistic-ness of the storyline, due to the fact that nothing they did would ever happen in reality. There was not really any characterisation; they were all very two-dimensional characters, and the book seemed more like a place study with some pointless characters thrown in every now and again. I was not kept guessing throughout the book because, as I previously mentioned, there was nothing to guess. My favourite part of the book was the last page, when I could finally put it to rest and say I struggled through, but it was over at last! However, despite this book being extremely dull, Thomson does have a knack for descriptive writing, and some of the setting descriptions were greatly detailed.

Unfortunately, due to the immense struggle to get through the book myself, I would not recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read a storyline with an actual point to it!

My Rating: 1 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you do end up wanting to read the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

Categories
1 Muffin Book Reviews

Review of ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ by J.D. Salinger

I was really looking forward to reading this, and frankly I was very disappointed with it. I had heard so many good things about it, and about all of the life lessons it puts out to it’s readers, but I found it dry and boring to say the least!

Warning: Very slightly explicit review (one point of cursing)

Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

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‘The Catcher In The Rye’ by J.D. Salinger

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

My Review

The Catcher In The Rye is a classic American novel set in New York and follows Holden Caulfield on his journeys after being chucked out of school. There was no real storyline to this book whatsoever, so I’m struggling to write about the main plot line like I usually would here. I guess you could say the plot was very very slow moving because I found I was constantly waiting for something to happen when nothing was going to happen. There was not a lot to predict either, due to the fact that the storyline was so flat.

As for the characters, Holden was the only personality that really featured properly, and even his character was extremely flat! None of the other characters had any personalities to them whatsoever. There were no backgrounds to any of the characters, no real bulk to any of them, apart from their names being mentioned and them doing something that was ultimately going to annoy Holden.

The story kept me guessing in a bad way, because I was constantly thinking when the story was going to pick up, when it never did and just stayed flat. The only thing I got from the ‘moral of the story’ was Holden knew how to spend his money on drinks, girls and shitty hotel rooms!

I’m going to take this opportunity to explain why I really didn’t like this book. Apart from the story line being flat, and the characters being flat, I did not enjoy the written language of the book either. For one, I want to learn lessons from people that actually do things besides drinking, sex and spending money. I  want to learn lessons from people who have friends and relationships with other character besides themselves, so I can really see how everything ties together with other people in the real world. As well as this, the writing style was too repetitive for me; Holden seemed to talk in such an odd manner that it was difficult to read at times. The language use was just terrible, I cannot imagine anyone speaking in that way!

You cannot ask me what my favourite part of this book was because I did not enjoy any part of the book. It was all the same, so even if I said ‘that part where he’s out drinking in New York’ that’s basically the whole novel, so you get the gist of what I’m trying to say here. I do understand that there are a lot of people who swear by this book and others that are similar, because of it’s life lessons and moral teachings, but I just could not see any of that! I know I was meant to learn something, but I saw nothing good come from reading this!

I would not recommend this book unless you want to be bored out of your mind, because it would just be a waste of your time, and nobody likes reading books they have to force themselves to pick up! I do apologise to lovers of this book, but I did not enjoy it one bit!

My Rating: 1 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you would, for some reason, like to read this book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)