Tag: Present

Louise Candlish – The Other Passenger | Review

Title: The Other Passenger

Author: Louise Candlish

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 411

Rating: 4/5

I was sent a signed copy of this book for free as part of a bookish subscription box that reached out to me, but I don’t think that will influence my review. Still, I guess that’s a disclaimer for you.

The theme of the box that I received was all about the commute and this was pretty much the perfect book for it because it was mostly set on the commuter boats that people take to get into the city. As for the genre, it’s basically as close to generic contemporary thriller as you can get, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We have a lot of the classics tropes here, from an unreliable narrator to tons of twists and turns, complex interpersonal relationships and of course that little technique of jumping backwards and forwards through time to advance what’s happening in the present by bringing up something that happened in the past and which changes the way we look at things.

Other than that, I don’t really want to say too much about the plot, purely because as with most of these, half of the point is being taken by surprise. And I will say that while there were one or two things that I called pretty early on, there were also a couple of twists here and there that I didn’t spot.

It probably also helped that I received quite a nice edition of this, a hardback with the author’s signature in it, and so it was quite an aesthetically pleasing read, too. I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of thrillers in general, as I tend to prefer either cosy mysteries, private detectives or gritty police procedural novels, but it certainly did the job and was a pleasant enough read, keeping me going until the end to find out the truth about what happened.

And that brings us on to the question of whether I’d recommend it or not, and that really depends upon the type of reader that you are. If you’re really into modern thrillers and you loved Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, you’re probably going to like this one. There are a ton of twists, more than I’ve seen in a novel of this size in quite a long time, and the characters are just warped enough to keep them interesting.

Learn more about The Other Passenger.

 


James Frey – A Million Little Pieces | Review

Title: A Million Little Pieces

Author: James Frey

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 518

Rating: 4.25/5

I was given this as a birthday present from someone who’d read it themselves and enjoyed it and who’d seen that it was on my ridiculously large want to readlist. I don’t actually get given books that often because more often than not, I end up resenting them because I feel as though I have to read them whether I want to or not. But as this was off my big old list, we dodged that problem.

I think I first heard about this on BookTube, although I can’t remember who was talking about it. It basically instantly went on to my wish list because it’s a non-fiction drug book and I’ve always been partial to books about drugs. I even quite like it when you get references to opium in stuff like The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy falls asleep in a field of poppies.

Because I find the subject matter interesting, I was pretty much guaranteed to like this one. However, there are some other factors that come into play too. For example, the dialogue is written without quotation marks or indeed any form of punctuation, which some people might offputting. It’s the first thing I noticed when flicking through it and that, combined with a blurb from Irvine Welsh on the back, made me think it might be a tricky read. It turns out to actually work better and to flow more smoothly like that.

I guess that’s because of the style of the book. It’s written as a sort of stream-of-consciousness memoir and reads as though Frey is just chatting to you at a bar, and so this style of punctuation is perfect. At the same time though, I’m sure it’s not quite to everyone’s tastes, and that’s okay. And besides, if you like drug stories but you can’t deal with the punctuation, there’s always the movie version, which I’ll probably watch at some point or another.

Other than that, I’m not sure that there’s much more that I can tell you. I think as long as you have an interest in the subject matter – that of a recovering addict trying to get clean – and you don’t mind dialogue when it’s oddly formatted, you’re in for a treat. I will say that he spends the majority of the book either thinking about drugs or wishing he was dead, and so it can sometimes feel a little samey, but that can’t really be helped due to the subject matter and you have to respect the honesty.

Overall then, I’d definitely recommend this one, especially if you have an interest in drug and addiction memoirs. Otherwise, if you’re worried about trigger warnings or if it just makes you unhappy to read about stuff like this then maybe give it a miss. You’d be missing out on a good read, but it’s also a difficult one that can be quite confrontational too. As for me, I’m glad that I read it. A good gift!

Learn more about A Million Little Pieces.