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Search tags: Rachel-Joyce
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review 2018-06-14 21:48
Perfect by Rachel Joyce
Perfect - Rachel Joyce,Paul Rhys

I’ve been going on a bit of a Rachel Joyce kick of late. Her novels are so easy to read and her characters unbelievably endearing that I’ve been going through her back catalogue.

Perfect tells two stories at once, both set in separate timelines. The first story is that of 10-year-old Byron and his family, chiefly his mother Diana and what happens as a result of two seconds being added to time in the 1970’s. Along-side this story is that of Jim, a man with severe mental health issues, chiefly that of OCD. His story is told in the present day.

 

The great strength of Rachel Joyce is formulation of character. Her characters always have something to like about them, regardless of their flaws. They’re always so relatable and have a warmth that makes them feel very human. Even the antagonists have a relatable aspect and that’s not easy to accomplish.

 

Towards the latter end of the plot there were a couple of moments when things became a little laughable and of course this took away from my enjoyment, but it didn’t stop me reading because I was so invested in the characters. I also guessed 2 or 3 plot manoeuvres, which was a little annoying. Even though I would have preferred a stronger plot, I read her books because I know that there’ll always be a character in her book that feels like my best friend.

 

If I had one criticism of this book it would be that it was a little clique at some points, I guessed virtually all the twists and there were really too many themes crammed in. The main theme was about the little mistakes that we all make and how these seemingly small instances can cause a ripple effect that travels down the years. There was also that of mental health, abuse, romance, relationships etc. This was a little too much, but I still enjoyed the book, even if it wasn’t my favourite Rachel Joyce.

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text 2018-06-01 21:33
Reading progress update: I've listened 359 out of 685 minutes.
Perfect - Rachel Joyce,Paul Rhys

I've been having some fatigue these last few days so, audio book time. I loaned a physical copy from my library and decided today to switch over to audio book, which they had in their online catalogue. Yea! I was very happy, I can tell you.

 

Perfect is the story of a boy called Byron and a man, Jim, who has had and continues to have severe mental health issues. The two stories are set years apart and are told in alternative chapters.

 

I've loved Rachel Joyce ever since I read her most recent book, The Music Shop and this is turning out to be another excellent book.

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review 2018-04-26 12:22
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
The Music Shop: A Novel - Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop was one of the loveliest books I’ve read this year and I wish I could go back and read it for the first time again. It’s set in 1980’s London, in a music shop on a back street (Unity street) with a few other shops, such as a tattoo parlour and pub. All the shop owners know each other, so there’s a real sense of community. During the time period the novel is set Thatcher is in power and even though there’s only one reference to her, you can feel her influence, be it in the ebbing community spirit regardless of how much it’s grasped at, or the general decline of the neighbourhood.

 

The owner of the music shop, Frank, is the novels protagonist, a forty-year-old chain smoker. Music was the basis of the relationship with his unconventional mother, Peg, and after each chapter in the eighties, there’s a chapter when he was growing up, listening to music with her while she imparted her knowledge of each composer. Frank instinctively knows what record any person on any day needs, be it Aretha Franklin or Tchaikovsky. He is some kind of musical guru who helps anyone who needs it. The chief plot is Frank’s resistance to C.D’s, which are replacing Vinyl. Frank can’t stand the idea of what he thinks of as soulless CD’s replacing his beloved vinyl. He adores the format and will do whatever he can to retain it.

 

One day a woman who no-one has ever seen before faints on the street outside Franks shop. When she wakes up there's an instant connection between her and Frank and even though she disappears just as quickly as she arrives, without speaking a word to anyone, she soon becomes an integral part of the novel. Don’t be mistaken that this is a romance novel, though, because it’s not. It’s a novel chiefly about music and the power it holds. The romantic element was very much secondary.

 

A subplot that related to the time period was that of a property-developer who wanted to buy up all the shops on Unity street to build new houses. This would mean the destruction of not only homes and businesses, but also a community.

 

The idea of community was a large part of the novel and one which I really appreciated. For so long we’ve been told that it’s all about the individual but IMO this is just wrong. I know that I personally do better when I’m part of something that brings people together and I can feel a shift back to this idea.

 

The best part of the novel, apart from the focus on music (which I loved) was the vast array of characters who each had their own quirks and history with Frank. From his assistant Kip with his constant mishaps, to the snarky tattooist next door, I loved them all.

 

This is a lovely novel and while it mightn’t win any awards, it was great for what it was and has left me eager for more of Rachel Joyce.

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text 2018-04-17 14:35
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Music Shop: A Novel - Rachel Joyce

This was such a lovely, heartwarming read. Just what I needed before I get deeper into Johnny Got His Gun!

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review 2018-04-16 16:25
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce

Although I wasn't sure about this book when I was assigned it as a responsibility for the adult version of "Battle of the Books," I found myself oddly struck by its realness. Although Harold is portrayed as an awkward guy, he is remarkably humble, and many of his stories of inadequacy, heartbreak, and regret/chances not taken are something we all experience (albeit somewhat different from his).  Although it seems outlandish--his spur-of-the-moment pilgrimage--it actually makes sense and the ending is that much more believable.

 

I just found out there's a sequel, but it's written about Queenie, the woman for whom he starts this journey.

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