I’ve been meaning to read this for years.( I Vaguely remember the film, with Hugh Grant, being about in the late 90’s early 2000ish). It was OK. Will amused me and Marcus was cute. The book avoided scmulchz- was quite unsentimental with its characters, which I liked. I was just a bit underwhelmed overall.
I was totally captivated by the audio of this absorbing tale with its cacophonous mix of characters, traditional English village setting and delicious mixture of mythical folklore, fantasy and realism.
Nobody captures senior school days, with all their associated teenage angst better than Davis Nicholls.
I re-lived all those feelings of not fitting in, of difficult parents, of first being seemingly the only one in the school without a boyfriend and then, when the wonder happened and I met someone, all the excitement and agonies of first love. I re-lived the irritation of not being one of the ‘Book Token Kid’s’, of not quite fitting in. I remembered with nostalgia the end of term/ end of school disco. Of revising for and sitting O’Levels and then the long summer with nothing to do while waiting for results. I loved Sweet Sorrow and I love David Nicholls.
Having read Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles earlier in the year, it was interesting to read events from the Gods viewpoint, although I had to keep Googling them as they entered the narrative to remind myself of their role in Greek legend, which slowed the reading down a tad. It was good to catch up with Odysseus and get to know him from another angle- from the female view of Circe and Penelope, which although played up the traditional great and wily warrior role, also showed him in a less favourable and likeable light. A couple of lines, where Circe is describing the character of Penelope stayed with me:
‘I asked her how she did it once, how she understood the world so clearly. she told me that it was a matter of keeping very still and showing no emotions, leaving room for others to reveal themselves.’ (p.265).
So this year I am involved in this, so will be posting at intervals.
East Sussex Children’s Book Award an annual event run by East Sussex Library and Information Service aimed at raising the profile and value of reading for pleasure. Children vote for their favourite book from a shortlist. A series of author events at schools across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove are organised to which all participating schools are invited and a final celebration at a prestigious Sussex venue to announce the winner is held in June.
‘I’ve never been sure where holidays end and true travel begins. Perhaps…it has something to do with the inherent difference between a rucksack and a suitcase.’ p10
This was what I really liked about the book. The travels through South East Asia. A proper adventure. However this was based on the authors television documentary of her travels and for me it was far more visual/ watchable than something to read about. I found the book a bit laborious and ended up skim reading the best bits!
Introspective and whimsical Juliette and vague and solitary Soliman I enjoyed getting to know you both and hanging out at the bookshop. Juliette- the idea of how much literature enriches your life:
‘…covered in a flash almost inconceivable distances… let the centuries roll over her… spoken to animals and the gods, drunk tea with a rabbit, and tasted hemlock and ambrosia? where were her companions hiding?- Count Pierre…Alice… Pippi Longstocking… Aladdin…?’ P.118
You both enriched my reading and made my train journey across Europe even more enjoyable.