I read Chocolat (of course) and liked it, so I went on to read Blackberry Wine and Coastliners and I was done I didnâ€™t want to read another Joanne Harris novel. A friend convinced me to give The Lollipop Shoes a go (plus she leant me her copy).
I struggled a bit and I found the build up to the climax tedious and longwinded. However, the characterisations were fabulous â€“ particularly Anouk/Annie with her teenage angst and her forays into a bit of practical magic.
We find Vianne and Anouk now known as Yanne and Annie living in Montmartre in a rented chocolaterie. Yanne has settled for security and stability â€“ they have been keeping the â€˜kindly onesâ€™ at bay for the past few years by being ordinary (no magic). Vianne has had another child Rosette who at four still doesnâ€™t talk and seems to cause mysterious â€œAccidentsâ€. Zozie erupts in this world bringing with her tricks and glamours similar to those Vianne performed in the past. She is enchanting and more and more people are enticed into the chocolaterie and it finally starts to break even. However, she has an ulterior motive â€“ she is a stealer of lives and identities and just how much of Vianneâ€™s life does she want?
The mother daughter relationship is portrayed with insight and sensitivity. And the narrative method of swapping points of view between Yanne, Annie and Zozie was effective and allowed the reader an insight into each characters motivation.
Although overall I enjoyed this book, I wouldnâ€™t recommend it to anyone but a true Harris fan.
I’m not really sure why I bought this book. I was in the book store buying my 2 year old a Maisy book (as you do) and saw that it was discounted plus it had a big sticker stating that it won the 2005 Man Booker prize. As Iâ€™m always looking for something â€˜literaryâ€™ and intelligent for book club, I decided to grab a copy. Yes I do buy things based on the cover!
Max Mordenâ€™s (our hero) wife dies before the action starts. He returns to the village where he spent some childhood summers to grieve, but also to dwell on the enigmatic Graces whom he met one summer. The mute Myles and the precocious Chloe.
The story develops in a series of flash backs to that summer, memories of his wife and present events. We learn that Max is a drinker, troubled by something that occurred in that distant summer even that he changed his name to Max.
I find when I read a book something in my mind shifts â€“ I understand something better, or I feel that Iâ€™ve had a conversation with a kindred spirit. Not this book. I feel nothing. I didnâ€™t hate it or love it. I found it hard going and forced myself to finish it. The use of obscure words (i.e. cinereal, caduceus) fascinated and then frustrated me. Â I avoided reading it because I couldn’t be bothered looking up another word in my dictionary.
Itâ€™s not a book I will reread and I will think carefully before recommending it to anyone.
This blog will contain reviews of the books I’m reading. I read a lot, but I’m certainly not literary – I liked Harry Potter (unlike Harold Bloom). I’ll write about what I like and don’t like, whether I would read it again or whether I’ll sell my copy on Ebay!
MyÂ nextÂ postÂ willÂ beÂ aboutÂ ‘TheÂ Sea’Â byÂ JohnÂ BanvilleÂ
(WinnerÂ ofÂ theÂ 2005Â ManÂ BookerÂ prize).
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