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Carron

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An excellently read, Potter-esk story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-2020

I really enjoyed this. It has many similarities to the Potter series but is well written enough to carry it’s own quality. The world is not as well described or developed as JK Rowling’s epic world but, as far as children’s fiction goes, it is very enjoyable. Gemma does a wonderful job of voicing the many characters using a variety of mainly British inspired accents to lend each it’s own personality. These accents match well to the author’s vocabulary choices for each. Overall, it was really enjoyable and despite the delays on producing the third instalment, presumably due to COVID, I am choosing to wait for Gemma’s reading with all the characterisation, rather than buying a paper copy.

Sweet but Simple

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-05-2019

This was a nice story. An interesting concept but a little undercooked for me. I felt the key parts of the story unravelled rapidly and the rest was just a lot of padding. Of course it was written for children so maybe I was expecting too much. However I wondered how 9&10 year olds would relate to the underlying story of the Mum falling in love with a fictional character. The references to Pride & Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes and, to an extent, Treasure Island, would most likely also be lost on them. On top of that, the Tilly/Mum reunion felt very tokenistic, rather glossed over, and altogether, rather lacked emotion from any of the characters, Tilly, Mum, best friend, or Grandparents. A bit of surprise felt like the main emotion expressed in regard to the mother's return. I think it would have been nice to have developed the plot a little more and either woven in more classics or developed the intrigue and depth in the adventures within a single book. The split focus between Alice and Wonderland, The Little Princess and, more briefly, Anne of Green Gables, didn't really resolve itself all that well, I thought. In the audio version, the reader had a lovely voice and was nice to listen to for the most part but her accent voicing was a little on the weak side. She appeared to struggle with the way the a number of characters used the word "why" to start sentences and this often resulted in the word being disjointed from the rest of the character's sentence and thus receiving undue focus. She also fell back on the stereotypical about/aboot Canadian accent which felt wrong for the character. She is usually played with a more British accent and if anything, Prince Edward Islanders have an Irish twang I believe. To my knowledge, "aboot" is more characteristic of central and southern Canadian provinces and it just felt out of place in this context. Furthermore, the reader struggled to provide more masculine voices which resulted in it sometimes being difficult to tell the grandparents, in particular, apart when they were both in the same scene. I found these issues all quite distracting. Overall, it wasn't a bad read but I'm interested in getting a review from some of my 8-10 year old students, so watch this space.

2 people found this helpful

Not for the prudish but well written/read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-2018

DISCLAIMER: If you are at all squeemish about language or such. Don't read this book. The author is a former Obstetrics and Gynaecology doctor so his anecdotes generally relate to the private regions of both genders, birthing, fertility and related activities. His language is... shall we say "colourful" at times. Having said that, he brings a window into the world of a "junior" doctor and the impact that has on their lives, relationships and mental health, in a fresh and amusing way. I put "junior" doctor in quotation marks because he rises up the ranks with around 6 years clinical experience but "junior" apparently refers to anyone below consultant. I enjoyed the fact that he used Harry Potter pseudonyms for anonymity and linked them somewhat to the characters. Particularly unpleasant patients or superiors shared names with death eaters, annoying ministry officials took the names of annoying ministry of magic employees, an early tutor was "Professor Flitwick" and Adam's best friend was Ron Weasley. Most of the book takes a light hearted look, and somewhat sarcastic jab, at the NHS. In fact the book was born out of a comedy act which sought to redress what Adam felt was an unfair portrayal of junior doctors by politicians. However, it ends with quite a serious explanation of his departure and a very clear expression of his feelings about the NHS vs Junior Doctors disputes of 2015/2016. As a teacher in NZ facing similar industrial disputes I found I identified with much of what he was saying in this section. Obviously not the level of consequence/responsibility doctors carry, but many of the other aspects like a workload in compatible with a personal life (although for NHS doctors it's far worse), serious understaffing, underfunding causing issues with patient (or, for us, student) care, the government's blame game, and the stress caused by unfair expectations, to name just a few. Overall, I felt this was an accurate representation which had the ring of truth. Adam clearly has a gift for comedy and writing as well as the intelligence for medicine.

17 people found this helpful

Fell Short

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-11-2017

It was well read but the storyline was predictable and the character development never really made up for it.

The story was told from the perspective of three characters but it was hard to see how some parts/perspectives added to the story. Many of the sub plots were underdeveloped, unrelated to what appeared to be the key theme, and/or lacked satisfying conclusions, though more time was often spent on these sub plots, than the titled plot.

The court aspects also annoyed me. Even back in the war years I don't believe the lawyer would have gotten away with the hearsay, speculation, and storytelling as described which made the whole thing seem like a farce.

Overall, It was fine for a long car journey but not a satisfying or gripping tale.