Jennifer is a student, studying film noir. With student accommodation not yet built she is living off campus temporarily in a nursing home. The home is, somewhat, unique. It is home to five elderly residents and owned by the Granges. Joining Jennifer are fellow students Liverpudlian John – Paul George ‘Ringo’ and Bo Liu and Lling Liu. There are a few secrets in the book, and I never knew which characters I could trust. Jennifer, in her opinion, is boring and so takes on a whole different persona in her new surroundings. She is so self-absorbed, I have to quote Hermione Granger and say ‘oh stop feeling all misunderstood,’ to her. She also lies about something HUGE, and when the lie is revealed she doesn’t seem to realise how wrong that it is. When will it click Jennifer?!
The residents in the nursing home, on one hand, did feel like clichés, and Ringo did not convince me as a character, but are very amusing and I laughed out loud at a lot of their exchanges; with the discussions between the two groups about ‘when they were young’, Brexit and how the young are more self-absorbed than their generation. Typical stuff, really. There is a mystery in the book, and I kind of felt the author didn’t know whether to go all in with that part of the story or not, and so I was underwhelmed by the ending as it seemed so at odds with other parts of the book, where all the residents are bonding, going out and getting drunk, and with everyone working together to stop the home from closing. There is a poignancy to the book, about aging, and loneliness, and in being happy with who you are, and who your family are.
I took from the book the message that our experiences from childhood, what beliefs we are brought up with, and the gripes and grudges we hold onto all our lives can impact us in different ways, leaving us unfulfilled. We must choose to change or remain entrenched in our prejudices.
Hello. Hope you are all keeping well. Self-isolating here in the UK and getting through my tbr pile. Isolation isn’t far from the norm for me anyway. We have to just stay safe, healthy and look out for each other.
After her mother’s death &a suicide attempt directionless Breeda decides to finally clear out her mum’s house. From there Breeda finds a thread which unravels her entire family. I felt for Breeda. I could all too well identify with her. I was sensitive to her plight. For a debut novel this was an excellent read and had me hooked throughout. I liked the twists and turns, the characters. I switched off completely and got into this book and the ending was satisfactory.
My one issue was Breeda’s surname Looney. I don’t like the word looney, I think it’s a cruel word and what with some of the topics in the book – felt tactless but I understand the word has other origins and this book is based in Ireland, with Irish characters.
I would recommend this book and I will definitely be reading it again.
Breeda Looney tells herself she’s happy with her life in a small Irish fishing village. Sure, there are days she talks to no one but the cat, her Aunt Nora considers her a waste of skin, and her panic attacks have become public spectacles. Still, what’s the use in complaining?
Then Breeda makes a shocking discovery that flips her world upside down. Her father, said to have died when Breeda was a child, might actually still be alive.
Breeda’s search for her father will strain her sanity to its limits, pitting her against her formidable Aunt Nora and forcing her to revisit a dark place she thought she’d buried forever.
And as she digs up the family dirt to find him, Breeda will begin to wonder…has she taken a step too far?
You know when you’re going through a period of depression and you aren’t reading anything, then you clap eyes on a book and it’s just what you need to get excited about reading again? That was Almost Adults. Since I read this book on Monday I have finished two more. This is what I am like on a reading streak.
In Almost Adults nothing out of the ordinary happens, it is a story of a group of friends navigating their way through … life. Relationships, breakups, unemployment, grief, and a lot more besides. I loved the dynamic of this group and found myself envying their friendship. I liked the whatsapp messaging they used to communicate too. I found I could relate to every one of them in some small way, although Edele is definitely me. One thing I felt was that some of the thoughts and dialogue were cliched and written in to give the story some morals. There is also a lot of drinking in the book, which could be triggering for some. As an Almost Adult I loved this book, it was easy enough to read in one afternoon and there wasn’t any of it I didn’t enjoy. It’s modern, it’s true and the characters are great.
I have not read a book of this genre since Rankin’s Rebus where the book is completely engaging because of its setting and characters. The plot, the pacing, the setting of A Murder for Christmas was brilliant. The characters felt authentic. They were not perfect, which makes it so much more believable because you don’t agree with everything the character says or does. The three characters, Joe and Sheila and Brenda, had a great relationship with each other. The dialogue was great too. I had to laugh at a lot of the wit in this book.
But the slut shaming from not only the male characters, but the female characters, as real as that came across, because I know there are people all over the country that do believe that way of behaving is correct, made me hope the younger generation are moving away from that kind of attitude. It was difficult to read sometimes. The descriptions of the women made me feel uncomfortable too. although that was in keeping with the characters themselves, (pretty sleazy male characters) and how they seem to treat women as sexual objects.
You could also make a case that A Murder for Christmas is old fashioned, but I am old fashioned anyway, and I prefer a vintage murder mystery.
Faults aside A Murder for Christmas has got a lot about it to recommend.
Catana’s comics are based on her relationship with her partner John. In the introduction Catana explains, “wow, we have a weird relationship, if other people saw what we do it would be odd and embarrassing. Have you ever looked at your significant other and thought – Well, that’s what we thought too, before the comics began,”
The situations in the comics range from intimacy (wanting to touch your partner’s butt, borrowing their clothes etc.) to all the comfy parts of being in a long term relationship (choosing to stay in on a Friday night instead of going out, laying around the house in your pants etc.) I’m sure many people will be able to relate to these comics. My favourite is the comic where he asks if she wants to finish his sandwich and she takes no time in taking the sandwich off of him. (I’m always hoovering up my partner’s leftovers!) Little Moments of Love is a cute book, unbearably so at times (can there ever be too much cheese?) It would make a great coffee table book, or if you’re looking for a gift for your significant other.