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Melle

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Poorly constructed and unbelievably stupid

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

Reviewed: 31-08-2020

These are some of the most unlikeable characters I've ever encountered - actually way beyond unlikeable, they are truly horrible, toxic people. Their husbands are no better. The story does nothing to convey a genuine friendship between these women, let alone a special bond. And there is no reason for us to be cheering them on or wanting anything good to happen to them. The worst offence is this story covers some incredibly serious and triggering issues - sexual consent, rape, spousal abuse - not to mention murder. And the ludicrous nature of the story, the unrealistic way the characters speak and react to everything that happens, undermines these serious topics. And then the book starts to get preachy, trying to convey important messages about women and their "voice", particularly relating to abuse. I found it offensive and eye-roll worthy at the same time. I was literally rolling my eyes at the end, the absolutely absurd ending, the way the different stories are resolved and the ultimate message of the book. Even the structure doesn't work well. Each woman's story is told in first person, making it hard to keep track of who is saying or experiencing what, with random third-person accounts of their children, and sprinkled with stories from the past which supposedly explain their current attitudes and behaviours. This is the worst book I've bought through Audible. Just dreadful.

Enjoyable and engaging, potential to be much more

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

Reviewed: 05-04-2020

The biggest issue for this book, is how it is promoted as a "psychological thriller with a stunning twist". This sets up the wrong expectations. I get so frustrated by any mention of a "twist" - I think readers are inevitably distracted by trying to guess the twist and don't just appreciate the story as it goes along. I think this story has a lot of interesting things to say, about childhood pain and trauma and how it impacts us as adults, who we are drawn to and how that trauma plays out in our lives. I get the sense it wasn't about a twist. I felt the author was deliberately giving us the crumbs to put together what is happening from pretty early on, and allows us to think through the hows and whys. Even so, whilst you are likely to guess the outcome, I do think it is worth trying to focus on how it all unfolds, to try and see the depth behind it all. Another issue is that all the characters in the story are so unlikable. I could relate to Lucy in many ways but she does rather get on the nerves, and I have known too many Ambers...but ultimately I think they are well and cleverly portrayed - particularly their lack of self-awareness. For me, I got what I expected - an engaging story that kept me interested. I was always keen to get back to the story. If you enjoy this genre and type of story, I think you'll enjoy it just fine. And whilst it does use some well established tropes and familiar characters, it has its own story to tell.

Absolutely Brilliant, Searing and Original

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

Reviewed: 17-03-2020

You haven't read a story like this before, I guarantee it. I really didn't know what I was in for, but it hooked me instantly and I was riveted by the entire story. This is highly original, deeply fascinating and I am confident I will enjoy several re-listens to this one. I'd almost recommend you don't read anything much about it - just read it. It's a gripping, brutal thriller entwined in the story of two brothers, with sprinklings of deeply sentimental imagery. Love, love, loved it.

Lots of Helpful Ideas

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

Reviewed: 17-03-2020

If you're curious about Brene Brown and this whole vulnerability concept, this is a great introduction to her and her ideas. I found I was writing notes regularly, there is a lot of useful and easily graspable ideas here.

An original structure, interesting story-telling

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

Reviewed: 17-03-2020

I can understand why this book has been so popular; it has a quirky and original structure and story-telling mechanism, and I do think it attempts to tell a more realistic and relatable everyday story, about "real" and "normal" people, even though a number of the things they face are not exactly typical. It took me a while to get into it and to get used to the instant moves to different scenes/people and different timelines. Once you get the hang of it, the approach is very interesting - that you get a reference to something that happened in the past and one protagonist's reaction/take on it, and then later hear the other person's experience and perspective on it. This certainly adds to the idea of it being reality, where people have every day misunderstandings and miscommunications. It can feel a little abrupt and unresolved at times, particularly at the end, but overall they are likeable characters with a lot of relatable feelings and experiences, and I think it's a clever way of telling the story.

An Enjoyable Read

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

Reviewed: 17-03-2020

I love Mhairi McFarlane and have read all of her books. She's a wonderful fresh voice, and is one of the only authors I will read in this genre. I liked this one fine, but it's not one of her best or most memorable. The characters, are always, seem real and relatable and I think she begins to explore some interesting and sometimes complex issues around relationships, particularly with parents, but I'm not sure it fully works. I was just a little disappointed it didn't explore some of these further and allow for a more complex but satisfying resolution. The narration is excellent, the accents are great and enhance the story and sense of character. She does the variety of voices well and each character is distinct and identifiable. Overall, this is enjoyable listening and if you're a fan of Mhairi and this genre, I think you'll be entertained and happy with this offering.

A major disappointment

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

Reviewed: 12-03-2020

This one sounded so intriguing and is based on a highly relevant topic, that of the multi billion industry scam industry. But it's a total mess. There are too many threads, and none of them portrayed convincingly. And there is too much that doesn't ring true - a lot of the conversations were just so irritating, I kept thinking "people DO NOT talk like that". I found it confusing in places too, with a few similar characters and storylines. It got more far-fetched in how the "victims" responded and I lost interest. It's a shame, it is a rich topic for a novel and could have been done very well.

Entertaining

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

Reviewed: 06-02-2020

Highly entertaining, easy listen. I found the narration was excellent and added a lot to the story - she just gets that character so exactly right, which helps with the relatability and grounding of the story. A little confusing or meandering at times, but overall you gets what you expect, a clever and interesting story with great characters. The way the various storylines are woven together is great and demands you do pay sufficient attention to keep track of it all and understand the final reveals.

Wonderful core story, but ultimately disappointing

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

Reviewed: 06-02-2020

I feel like I'll be in the minority here, but I didn't like this book overall. I only persisted because my Book Club is reading it. Whilst the narration is good in many ways, giving the lyrical language the appropriate languid southern delivery, it made it a very long, very slow listen which became tedious about halfway through. Kya's voice didn't alter enough either as she became an adult, and the still breathless girlish voice made it hard to picture her grown up. Chase and Tate have identical voices too, which limited the sense of them as distinct characters. The thread about the police investigation is a waste of time. It adds nothing to the story, or the suspense and is poorly, stupidly written. I would have opened with the discovery of Chase's body and not mentioned anything about that again until the trial. From the trial onwards, I couldn't wait for this story to be over. I guess it's possible a trial would have unfolded like this in the south at that time, but it comes across as highly implausible to me. The story does too much, goes too far. Each story is just stretched that much further beyond what it should have been to make it hard to accept. I think with some editing and some pulling back of a number of the ideas, it could have been much more enjoyable. The core story of Kya's survival on her own and her appreciation and understanding of the natural world of the marshlands was deeply evocative and captivating - everything beyond that seems into Hollywoodesque storylines and ridiculous outcomes. A real shame, it could have been wonderful.

17 people found this helpful

Entertaining and Enlightening

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

Reviewed: 06-02-2020

This is a fascinating listen. Mel has great insights and particularly knows how to cut through the nonsense to the heart of the matter - seemingly at times the first person to ever call these people out on some of their issues. Whilst you may not be dealing with the same issues, you will find a lot of points of commonality, relatable emotions, and advice that can be applied to your own life.