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Publisher's Summary

Life has its ups and downs. From the author of The Universe Versus Alex Woods comes a dark, painful, and witty novel about a woman whose life is spiralling out of control.

You're going to find some of my actions frustrating. I'm hard to live with, maddening, uneven - I get that. But I can't stand around listing my faults, or we'll be here for ever. All I ask right now is that you indulge me. For as long as it lasts, this is going to be one hell of a ride.

©2015 Gavin Extence (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Drew
  • 26-04-2015

Avoid reading too much background

Try this if you liked The Universe verus Alex Wood

I didn't read any background information about this novel before I read/listened to it - I was drawn to it because I thoroughly enjoyed 'Alex Wood'. I'm sure I benefited from picking-up clues and gradually realising the direction of travel, rather than knowing where the novel was heading.

'Melody Black' confirms Extence's as a very fine writer. There's a dramatic opening chapter, then a slow build-up to a frenetic peak, which is followed by the fall-out. Like Alex Wood, it changes tone (in a good way!).

It's quirky and moving and a very good novel.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-08-2016

Meaningful story of life with mental health struggles

'They" said Donna Tartt couldn't write a book in the 1st person about a boy/young man, & they were wrong. I wonder if "they' said Gavin couldn't do the same writing about a young women? Not only did he succeed so well to portray the mind of a woman, but also to portray a mind suffering bouts of insanity. i would have liked the story of the Mirror World to be a bit more pithy, or take a bigger stage (not centre stage) though. It just seemed that somehow the story lacked a bit. I would have liked there to have been say a science fiction type turn into the mirror world - something anyway to deliver a crescendo. In the end I was feeling "oh, is that it?'

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jockette61
  • 20-01-2016

Quirky and enjoyable

Loved Alex Woods, so thought this was worth a listen. Its in a similar very quirky vein, but not quite as immediately attention-grabbing. Abby was quite an interesting character, and the story certainly led to much wincing as she got into more and more scrapes. You really felt for her (and her loved ones) as she moved more into her manic phase. Some of the plot devices seemed a bit contrived, hence the 4* rather than 5*. But I'm definitely planning to read Extence's next one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kaggy
  • 07-05-2017

Trying to make sense of it all

This is yet another excellent book from Gavin Extence. I have to admire his bravery at using a young woman as the first person narrator but he manages to pull this off with great success. Abby is brittle and difficult and downright ungrateful to those who try to help her, but she is also humorous and engaging and deserves to be loved. From the outset you know that there is something severely disjointed in her life when her reaction to the sudden death of her neighbour falls way beyond the bounds of normality. Her boyfriend is strangely tolerant to her behaviour and as the story unfolds you are faced with a realistic and unsentimental portrayal of what it is like to be Abby and to live with somebody like Abby. The story is unflinching in giving a realistic assessment of her continuing difficulties, and the perils that form part of her everyday life but it is not without hope that a decent future could be achieved with tolerance, support and love.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wras
  • 13-03-2015

Abby. Abigail Williams was real is real.

A beautifully written book, funny, sad, magical and real all at the same time; Like Abby, full of her, her life, her experiences of falling as far as you can fall and picking up the pieces and recreating your life. A book full of empathy for the people who suffer these devastations and like imperfect phoenixes try to rebuild in the ashes of all that was their lives.
I loved how one small nudge, one small stumble could grow into a storm, and yet you're never sure if it were the stumble or the nudge or just a coincidence that co-insides with nothing but the frailty of your own mind. But most of all I loved the creation that is Abby, Abigail Williams.
If you are going to read one book this year I would make it this one, but why stop at one when you can have as many as you like?

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • greyhound
  • 25-11-2015

not as good as his first book

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

read his first book for book club, he is a local author and really enjoyed it, not so impressed with this, it felt like author therapy not a journey for the reader

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

characters two dimensional and was getting bored of the hype over disability.

What aspect of Jane Collingwood’s performance might you have changed?

performance of an average book is only ever going to be average due to the material not the reader

If this book were a film would you go see it?

no

Any additional comments?

don't bother

4 of 5 people found this review helpful