Category Archives: book review

Book review: The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

This is a review of the book The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert, which follows the life of nineteenth-century botanist Alma Whittaker.

As one of the few women of my demographic who has not read (nor seen) Eat Pray Love, I came at this book with no preconceived ideas about it or its author. Instead, I approached it with the enthusiasm of someone who is given a book by a person who knows them, with the hope it would be a good read. And I was not disappointed.

Gilbert’s tale is told with sufficient detail and background that I wasn’t sure for a long time whether its protagonist, Alma Whittaker, was a real historical figure or not. The information about her father is just wild enough to be true, especially considering his background, and the details of her early life and the characters of her mother and father are so well developed that it was really a toss-up for a long time as to whether this was a biography or a novel. (Of course, a simple Google search would have been enough to stem that debate, but to be honest it was one I rather enjoyed having with myself. It made the story that much more interesting.)

Alma Whittaker is herself an interesting character. Given the background Gilbert provides her with, it is unlikely she would have been anything else, but even that conclusion is testament to the quality of the narrative. We are told the story through Alma’s eyes, with her prejudices, beliefs and opinions sprinkled liberally throughout, but they make the story more compelling, not less. The arrival of her sister Prudence is stated with the bluntness of an eleven year old who had hitherto been the only child; her discovery later of the outcome of some of Prudence’s decisions means that not only she, but the reader, must delve back to reconsider the sisters’ behaviour in light of this new information. As we see through Alma’s eyes, we are forced to realise the limitations that perspective contains.

Other characters, too, are fascinating for both what they offer and what they cannot. The Dutch housekeeper Hanneke de Groot is a font of information – but only if you know how to ask for it. Alma’s father, Henry, is notable for his wide knowledge and fine acquisitions, but also for his lack of empathy and tenderness. Ambrose Pike, the artist who comes to stay at the Whittaker house, White Acre, is someone who can offer Alma what she wants, but not what she needs. And Prudence, who is to Alma little more than a footnote, is capable of much greater strength and self sacrifice than not only Alma believes, but also than of Alma herself.

Running parallel to the study in characters and their strengths and weaknesses (though not necessarily delving into character studies, so to speak) is the scientific narrative of biology in the 1800s. Alma chooses to study mosses, partly because she needs something to occupy her scientific mind while acting as the matron of her father’s house, and partly because they are convenient in that she does not need to leave the property to do so. Her deductions, however, are more far-reaching than even she could have conceived. She may need to travel to reach their conclusion, but the years at White Acre with her mosses stand her in excellent stead for the research to come.

The way Gilbert links Alma’s study with the wider scientific world of the 1800s is cleverly done, and so seamless it is, again, hard to differentiate this work from biography. Sure, Alma Whittaker is a fictional character, but that doesn’t make her presence in this world any less fascinating. In fact, I was almost wishing by the end that she had existed, as it would have added an extra dimension to the scientific activity of the era.

The Signature of All Things is, all told, a very cleverly written story about a character and situation so complex it almost seems incredible they have been invented. The narrative is smooth and the story compelling. All told, I can heartily recommend this book as a worthwhile and fascinating addition to any library.

 

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The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by Bloomsbury
513 pages
Available as hardcover, paperback and e-book

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Book review: Constance, by Patrick McGrath

 

Constance, by Patrick McGrath

Constance, by Patrick McGrath

Constance is an intriguing story of a young woman and her much older husband in 1960s Manhattan. Constance, the titular character, is haunted, aloof and intriguing; Sidney, her academic husband, is a divorced father of one who is still trying to find his niche.

The book is well written and draws you in; however, the fact both characters’ stories are told in the first person, with no real distinction in style between them, is a little unclear at first. While it is fascinating to read the points of view of both characters, I cannot help but wonder what would have been lost by telling it in third person, because it could have kept the limited narrative style while avoiding any confusion. The other thing that bothered me was the absence of inverted commas for speech, with dialogue indicated only by dashes. I’ve seen this a few times and it appears a modern way of doing it, but it does take some getting used to. But then again, maybe that’s just me.

The story is about two things – Constance’s need to work out where she fits, both in her husband’s life (littered with fellow academics, students, and the ex-wife and pre-pubescent son), and in that of her family, which consists of a father she resents and a significantly younger sister for whom she feels responsible. That her choices and actions can have a negative impact on her sister’s life seems to escape her; that she has any impact whatsoever on her father is also beyond her comprehension. For much of the story she is not only happy to but insistent on playing the victim, a fact which draws her wrath when her husband dares raise it with her.

Sidney, on the other hand, seems oblivious to the fact he is playing with fire when he feels an affinity and connection with Constance’s reviled father and occasionally takes his side against Constance’s. In this way he fits the stereotype of the absent-minded professor who knows everything there is to know about his chosen subject but nothing about human interactions or behaviour. He is able to offer clinical diagnoses of Constance, but seems unable to put these into a human context and deal with her in an appropriate manner; it is unsurprising that he succeeds only in driving her away.

Of course, this is a love story – or a romance, if you go with the definition that a love story has a sad ending and a romance a happy one – and our principal couple can find a way to connect in the end, even if they suffer many trials and tribulations on the way. In that sense it is masterfully told, because for much of the narrative it is hard for the reader to see any way out of this, yet when the story ends it feels like it could not have gone any other way. In another sense, though, the fact the characters are not particularly likeable and are far more frustrating than anything else means it is difficult to engage with the story. This was one I finished because I felt like I should, rather than having a need to know what happened next. From that perspective, it was not told masterfully at all.

Overall, Constance is the paradox of a brilliantly-written book which gives the impression it could have been better. It has all the ingredients of a great novel – deep and complicated characters, intriguing narrative, twists and turns, human suffering and resolution – but without more engaging characters, it seems to fall just short of its potential. I feel it could well become a classic in its own right; however, for an engaging read, I would be more likely to pick up something else.

 

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Constance, by Patrick McGrath
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
244 pages (paperback)
Available from Amazon in hardcover, paperback and ebook

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Book review: My Notorious Life by Madame X, by Kate Manning

My Notorious Life by Madame X, by Kate Manning

My Notorious Life by Madame X, by Kate Manning

“In the end, they celebrated. They bragged. They got me, finally, was their feeling. They said I would take my secrets to the grave.

 They should be so lucky.”

This is a review of the book My Notorious Life, by Kate Manning. It purports to be the journal of a midwife / female doctor in New York in the 1800s, who became notorious (as per the title) for her work on fertility and abortion.

I was given this book as an advance copy, to review before it is released by Bloomsbury in June 2013. (Got in just in time, right?) As such, my copy looks like the photo above, whereas the published version will have the title superimposed over the figure rather than the quote above. I apologise therefore for not having the published image to give you, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find on the bookshelves anyway, right?

And find it on the bookshelves you should. This is an absolutely fascinating historical novel, which chronicles the life of Axie Muldoon, aka Madame de Beausacq, and her experiences from being separated from her brother and sister via their adoption, to her education with the midwife who was unable to save her mother, to setting up a successful practice in “women’s medicine” with her husband Charlie. Anything which was seen to regulate conception was in those days illegal, and discussion of women’s reproductive systems was considered “obscene”, so Axie (or, as she was Christened, Ann) had to be very careful with the way she conducted her business.

The story is incredible. Short chapters and an engaging manner make it way too easy to keep reading way past bed time (“surely it’s not one o’clock in the morning already! I just went to bed!”) and, as Axie’s notoriety grows you become more and more convinced that things are too good to last. As, of course, they are. Madame de Beausacq become so reviled in the media that her clientele are too ashamed to admit they have used her services, and patients’ words are turned against them as the police struggle to find something they can convict her of. Yet, seen from the perspective of the twenty first century, what she is practicing is basic medical care, despite her lack of formal training. (It must be said, though, that some of the Republicans in America might be just as likely to go on a witch hunt for someone like her these days as the New York constabulary did back then. Maybe we haven’t evolved as much as I would like to think.)

Axie’s story is loosely based on the experiences of  Ann Trow Lowman, a midwife who practiced in New York City for approximately 40 years. Significant events from Lowman’s life are used, though they are (by admission of the author) moved around to make the story more compelling. In addition, Manning makes excellent use of real historical figures, such as Charles Loring Brace and Anthony Comstock, the latter of whom makes life extremely difficult for our heroine. All told it is gritty and realistic, and shows what life really was like 150 or so years ago, for city dwellers in America at least.

The novel is well written, tightly-plotted and very hard to put down. My only issue with it is the use of Axie’s grammatical foibles – while they add to the narrative, there are times when they feel forced and unnatural. Maybe it’s because they diminish somewhat as she matures so they are less common, but a couple of times they grated on me. Other than that, I can find nothing to criticise.  Read it. You’ll be glad you did.

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My Notorious Life by Madame X, by Kate Manning
434 pages (paperback)
Published by Bloomsbury in June 2013 as ebook and paperback

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Book review: Mimi, by Lucy Ellmann

mimi

 

This is a review of the book Mimi, which tells the story of the relationship between Mimi and Harrison, two very different New Yorkers whose lives become irreparably intertwined.

The book is notable at first because it was written by a woman, but is told in first person from Harrison’s point of view. This isn’t hugely unusual, but I always find that writing from the perspective of the opposite gender certainly has its own challenges. That said, the author does a magnificent job of getting into the head of a middle aged man and showing us his catharses.

The characters in the book are also remarkably interesting. Mimi is larger than life and makes no apologies for it; Harrison is surprisingly pliable (or perhaps quite so not surprisingly, given his profession is plastic surgery and he therefore makes a living out of plying others); Harrison’s sister Bee is forthright and an excellent foil for him; Bubbles the cat is luxuriant and indulged; the ex-girlfriend Gertrude is ridiculous. Even the city of New York is almost a character in this tale, such is its presence in the narrative – which, again, surprised me given that the author’s biography has her residences in Illinois and England. All told it provides for a fascinating story of how these characters clash, interact and generally behave.

That being said, the novel is not without flaws. I wondered at the copious amounts of backstory in the first third of it; sure, some of it helps ground the characters (particularly Harrison) but much of it seemed unnecessary. It was almost like any random thought from the protagonist would be enough to propel the reader into ten or so pages of historical content which had little bearing on the story at hand. Much of it makes more sense once you reach the story’s conclusion, but even so I felt it could have been cut substantially and yet still had the same impact. This perhaps also had a bearing on my thought in the early chapters that a book supposed to be about the character Mimi had pretty much no appearances from her for a very long time. (It seems an easy enough equation: less backstory = more Mimi.) Once she appeared for good, of course, she was rarely absent from the page, whether in presence or thought, but it did feel like it took a longer time than usual to get there.

My other comment is more a musing than anything – when did the C word become so acceptable? When I was growing up it was almost taboo, and now every third book seems to have it in abundance. Sometimes I feel it’s just used for shock value, other times it’s making a political statement – but maybe I’m just getting old and prudish, and in general society it doesn’t have the impact it used to have. In any case it takes some getting used to, seeing it in print so regularly, and this book was no exception. I admit it was within character for Harrison to use it, but I still raised my eyebrows.

Finally, I would like to say that Mimi ends up a very different book from how it started. I dare say this is deliberate, and showcases Harrison’s changing thought processes admirably, but what started pretty much as a love story becomes very political by the end. Naturally Mimi herself has had a large role in this change, and therefore it is quite appropriate that the book is named after her, but again it took me by surprise a little. I suppose, in the end, it’s about the effect love has on a person, for better or worse, even when the beloved is not present. And it’s a journey of self discovery – a journey from the fake to the real, in many ways – by a man who wasn’t all bad to start with, but who has an epiphany which affects thousands of others.

All in all, Mimi is a well-told story with a number of unexpected twists and turns. Its characters are real, warts and all, and almost compel you to keep reading by their sheer vivacity. If you would like to read a craftily-constructed tale which explores people’s deepest insecurities and celebrates matriarchal solutions, then this is definitely a book for you.

 

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Mimi, by Lucy Ellmann
352 pages (paperback)
Published by Bloomsbury
Available on Amazon as ebook and paperback

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Book review: Little Known Facts, by Christine Sneed

Little Known Facts

Little Known Facts is the debut novel of author Christine Sneed, who has previously published a number of short stories. It follows the world of Renn Ivins, a fictional movie star of the ilk (and generation) of Harrison Ford or Pierce Brosnan – highly successful, multi award winning, and highly sought after by both studios and women.

I was not surprised to learn that the author was known for her short stories prior to this novel, because in reality that is what it is: a collection of short stories with Renn Ivins as the central theme. There are chapters from the points of view of each of his adult children, both his ex-wives, his current lover, a props attendant and wannabe biographer, and Ivins himself, all told in different ways and different styles. Yes, there is a kind of a narrative that follows throughout the chapters, but in many ways it feels much more like a series of essays about a central character than a novel as such.

I will also add here that I was a little surprised that the focus of the novel was, in fact, Renn Ivins, mainly because the blurb on the inside front cover implies that it’s more about his children. Yes, they each get two chapters (more than anyone else does), but it feels like it is Ivins’ story which is really being told, through them, rather than their own.

That being said, it is certainly an interesting read. There is a part of all of us which is curious about the lifestyles of the rich and famous: even if you don’t read the supermarket tabloids or gossip magazines, there is still that bit that wonders what it would be like to have that kind of life. Some covet it, others would hate it, but most of us have at least considered it. This book is one way to satisfy that curiosity: it’s a peek into the life of a very successful Hollywood star, and how that stardom affects those around him and those that mean the most to him. It feels slightly voyeuristic, but it does the job.

I was also impressed with the ease with which Sneed jumped from POV to POV. All of the chapters are styled in a different way – some in first person, some in third, one (from an ex-wife) told in excerpts from her tell-all autobiography, one (Ivins) as notes from his journals. They all felt distinct from each other which is no mean feat: many established authors struggle to change the feel and narrative style of their different POV chapters, yet in this it feels effortless. It may be, as I have noted, due to her background in short stories, but it was certainly noteworthy in a novel of this length.

All in all I thought this was an excellent debut novel. Well-written, engaging and just that little bit voyeuristic, it captured my imagination and made me stay up way past my bedtime so I could finish it. If you have any curiosity about how fame can affect one’s nearest and dearest, then this is definitely one way to find out.

 

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Little Known Facts, by Christine Sneed
320 pages (paperback)
Published by Bloomsbury
Available on Amazon as ebook, hardcover and paperback

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The Australian Women Writers challenge 2013

awwbadge_2013

Today, I’m officially announcing my participation in the Australian Women Writers challenge. The what?, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a reading challenge that was established last year as a way to stop the gender bias that exists in so many book review pages, particularly in the established media. This bias isn’t necessarily deliberate, but it does exist, and so the AWW challenge is a way to help change that. You can read about the background here.

Now, to say that I’m taking part in this doesn’t mean that I’m ONLY reading Australian women writers. Heck, I read over 100 books in a year, and only a small proportion of those are going to fit the criteria. But some are better than none, and a lot are better than some. I’ve already read two books by Australian women this year so I don’t see it as being a particularly onerous idea.

Here are the categories (from the AWW challenge website):

  • Stella – read 4 – review at least 3
  • Miles – read 6 – review at least 4
  • Franklin – read 10 – review at least 6
  • Create your own challenge – do you plan to specialise in a particular genre or interest area, e.g. Science Fiction, self-published or Indigenous literature? Are you aiming for a high number, e.g. all the books you can read?

Last year I signed up for Stella, which was easy enough. This year, to push myself a bit, I’ve decided I’m going to go for the Franklin – read ten books, review at least six. With all the great Australian women writers out there, it should be a piece of cake, right? :)

And now, I am going to ask you to consider signing up to this challenge as well. Below I’ve listed a few common objections to participating, with my solutions.

  • Not female? Well, who says you have to be a woman in order to read a story by a woman? I certainly read a heck of a lot of stories by male authors, Australian or not.
  • Not Australian? Why should that be a problem? Is there a rule that says you can only read books by people you share a country with?
  • No time? Hey, if I can do it, so can you. What’s the big deal in reading four books in a year?
  • Don’t review books on your blog? No problem! If you have a Goodreads account you can just review on that site.
  • Don’t know any Australian women writers? Well, luckily for you the people behind the challenge have set up a bookshelf on Goodreads for you to have a look at, with over 1000 books listed on it. That should be enough for anyone. :)

So, this is both my announcement that I’m participating, and my plea for you to consider it too. Just go to the AWW website and sign up.  It’s free, it’s easy and you might just discover a new favourite author.

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Book review: The Sword and the Flame: The Forging and The Sword and the Flame: The Purging, by CP Bialois

The Sword and the Flame, by CP Bialois

 

This is a review of the books The Sword and the Flame: The Forging and The Purging, by CP Bialois. I know I don’t normally review more than one book at a time but it seemed pointless to do only one here when they are very much a set. They are set in a fantasy world of magic, elves, dwarves, halflings and gods, and follow the adventures of a group of travellers seeking their freedom.

The series starts with the halfling Janessa and her human friend Viola, who is a Mage in training. In this world, halflings are known pickpockets and are treated with mistrust, so to have a friendship like this is rare. They venture outside their city walls to visit a travelling company of merchants & entertainers, where they encounter Mern, a Mage with ulterior motives who befriends Viola; Berek, a human with unexplained super-sensory abilities; and Galin, a dwarf who has forsaken his kind who live underground to instead live the life of a travelling salesman.

Normally I don’t like to comment much on editorial errors in self published books. The fact is, if you’re picky enough then you will find mistakes in even traditionally published works, and usually it’s not of any magnitude that matters. These books, however, could really have done with a good proof-read. Run-on sentences are commonplace, and the author seems to have trouble with homonyms – for example, a village was raised (rather than razed) to the ground, a character was moving his personal affects (rather than effects) on a cart, and there were references to a journey to another plain (rather than plane). Done occasionally, this isn’t a big deal, but it happened often enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story.

Once I got past that, though, it was an entertaining, if not high quality, read. The story of Berek’s escape from his slave-holder was well done, and the growing bond between Galin and Janessa was a pleasure to behold. Viola’s journey from trainee to mage was also enjoyable.  Parts confused me at first, like the cleric Gilliam’s mistrust of magic-users when he uses spells himself, but when that was explained later it made enough sense for me to gloss over the initial confusion. I also felt that some parts of it were rushed a little: Fleir’s addition to the company was one example, and the battle in Solava (especially its conclusion) was another. It was like the author had too many subplots and events that he wanted to fit into the story, and I felt that if some of these had been fleshed out a little more it would have made a better read.

Finally, I thought the title was a little misleading. I’m the first to admit that titles are really difficult to get right, and I’m not willing to offer an alternative, but I thought that they implied that there would be a special sword that was forged and used to win the war. Instead, what is forged is the strength of the unlikely company, and what is purged is selfishness and greed. It’s still relevant, but a lot more obscurely so than I had expected.

Overall, if you are looking for a decent fantasy read that tells an entertaining story, The Sword and the Flame is worth picking up. If, however, you are distracted by editorial errors and flimsy segues, then perhaps it might be worth waiting until a new edition is released. An entertaining series, yes, but not without it flaws.

 

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The Sword and the Flame: The Forging and The Sword and the Flame: The Purging, by CP Bialois
Published by Amazon Digital Services
442 and 397 pages (paperback)
Available from Amazon.com as paperback and ebooks

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Book review: The Angry Woman Suite, by Lee Fullbright

The Angry Woman Suite, by Lee Fullbright

The Angry Woman Suite, by Lee Fullbright

This is a review of the book The Angry Woman Suite, by Lee Fullbright, a novel spanning three generations and a host of characters in early-to-mid twentieth century America.

The story is about the family of Francis Grayson, a free-thinking famous and successful band leader in the 1940s whose career disappears with the advent of rock’n’roll. However, his career is almost supplementary to the story, which is really about the mysteries (and history) surrounding his mother, aunts and grandmother.

I’m the first to admit that in a lot of stories, it’s the tale of a previous generation that intrigues me more than the tale being told. Perhaps it’s because it’s something that is only hinted at, without being spelt out, but I have noticed it about myself. The Harry Potter books, for example, or the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series, I find myself thinking more about what came before the events of the novels, than the novels themselves. (Okay, those are fantasy books, and this is historical fiction/mystery, but the point stands.) And, reading this book, I thought the same thing was going to happen again.

The novel starts in first person from the point of view of five year old Elyse, who is soon to become Francis’ step-daughter (and, later, adopted daughter), and her interpretation of what is going on around her. The next chapter, also in first person, tells Francis’ perspective on a number of the same events – much of which is at odds with the way Elyse told it. Even after reading the book twice, I’m still not sure whose is the accurate portrayal, or whether it was in fact a combination of the two. We later see the POV of Aiden Madsen, who had been Francis’ school master and mentor, as the story weaves between the early 1900s to the post-war era, telling bits and pieces of the Grayson family history as it goes.

However, my concern about not seeing the story that intrigued me the most was misplaced, as the story of Francis’ mother, and all the baggage that came with that story, was revealed as the novel progressed. In fact, the title of the book refers to Francis’ mother (albeit in a roundabout way), so I needn’t have worried. I suspect it was the fact that the book opened with Elyse that threw me, thinking that much of the story would be set in the 1950s rather than delving back into the past like it did.

This is, in truth, an awe-inspiring debut novel. It ticks all the boxes: engaging narrative, excellent characterisation, fascinating story, with even a couple of celebrity murders thrown in for good measure. Everything is linked by Francis’ seemingly unshakeable need to “fix” them all – the house, the women who raised him, and his relationship with Elyse, her mother and her sister – yet it is only when he accepts his own limitations that he finds peace. My only significant critique is that the voices all sound similar: the first person narratives of Elyse, Francis and Aiden, three very different people of different generations, didn’t sound particularly different to me as I was reading them. Several times I even had to go back a few pages in order to remember whose story I was being told. I completely understand how difficult it can be to change voices enough to differentiate them on the page to the reader, so I’m not suggesting any lack of skill on Fullbright’s part, but perhaps it might have been better to use third person in a case like this. (She may have tried this, of course, and it didn’t work for her, but that’s just my thought on the matter.)

Overall, though, it is hard to find anything bad to say about this book. If you like mystery, intrigue and a bit of romance, then The Angry Woman Suite is well worth picking up.

 

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The Angry Woman Suite, by Lee Fullbright
Published by Telemachus Press
382 pages (paperback)
Available in paperback and ebook from Amazon

 

 

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Book review: Who Will Save the Planet? by Peter McLennan

Who Will Save the Planet? by Peter McLennan

This is a review of the book Who Will Save the Planet? by Peter McLennan. You may remember Peter from his three part series on my blog a few months back (part 1, part 2 and part 3), where he talked us through the self-publishing process. Well, I’ve agreed to review his debut novel, and let me say it’s a fine read.

The story centres around Jason Saunders, a fourteen year old boy from small-town Australia. Still smarting from losing the school debate on whether global warming is indeed an issue that needs to be dealt with, Jason goes to his local beach for some me-time, sees a man floundering in the water and swims out to rescue him. The man turns out to be the Australian Prime Minister, who in front of a bunch of media tells Jason he can have anything he wants. The answer? Emission control targets, which is topical not only because of the school debate, but also due to an upcoming global meeting on climate change.

It’s a well-written and engaging story, told not just through Jason’s eyes but also through the prism of Cabinet meetings and, well, let’s call it “secret leaders’ business”. The Government – which by the way could be either of Australia’s major political parties, as it’s not specified which one they are – isn’t necessarily sold on the idea of emission control targets, and wonder if it’s possible to make Jason change his request. After all, with the promise of whatever he wanted caught by the television cameras, they’re in a bit of a hard place politically.

The ups and downs of politics, the personal charm of the leader and the stubbornness – or otherwise – of a fourteen year old boy caught in the middle makes for an engrossing story. Engagingly written, I found myself unwilling to put it down, even when I had to.

That said, of course, I’m not saying that the book is without faults. Early in the book a girl in Jason’s class called Emma makes a few appearances, and it’s implied that Jason has a bit of a thing for her. This would generally make one think that she would have a role later in the story, but past the first few chapters she doesn’t show up again. To me that feels like a loose end – why include her if she’s not going to have a role?

The other thing that bothered me was Jason’s desire for a large, petrol-guzzling SUV. Sure, I can see a fourteen year old eyeing off something like that, and encouraging his father to buy one, but for a boy who staunchly claims over and over that “if it’s bad for the environment I don’t want it”, it does seem an odd preference. Maybe if he planned to convert it to run on used vegetable oil from the local fish and chip shop that would make more sense, but if he did it’s not mentioned in the narrative.

Overall, though, it’s an entertaining story for a young adult audience. Those from outside Australia might find some of the politics confusing, but then again it’s explained pretty well in the text (the PM does have to make sure Jason knows how the system works) so that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Sure, if you’re one of the climate change skeptics you might take issue with Jason and his convictions, but then again I wouldn’t expect a climate change skeptic to pick up a book called Who Will Save the Planet? anyway. Assuming, though, that you’re not turned off by a few paragraphs of political explanation and a theme around fighting global warming, I would say it’s well worth a read.

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Who Will Save the Planet? by Peter McLennan
200 pages (paperback)
Published by Peter McLennan
Available on Amazon.com as e-book and paperback.

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