I chose two short books this month, in the hope that I would be able to find time to read them both. It worked! It may have been a teeny tiny meeting, but I did manage to read the books!
Brother – David Chariandy
I don’t know why I found this book difficult to read, but I did, it was a chore. In spite of it being a short book, that should have been fairly easy to read, the book was almost too slow. The writing was good, descriptive and heartfelt but I didn’t want to read it, it didn’t grip me at all. The book tells the story of the immigrant experience of a Trinidadian family relocated to Canada. The mother works several jobs to feed and clothe her two sons Michael & Francis in an effort to keep them in school so that they don’t have to live the rest of their lives in such an impoverished area.
When we meet Michael, he is living with his grieving mother in a tower block in a district of Toronto with a high immigrant population. He sleeps in his childhood bunk bed, but the top bunk is empty and as we read the story we discover what happened to his absent brother Francis. Michael grows up in the shadow of his missing big brother, and we, as readers can see why. Francis was popular in the community and had a confidence about him that is enviable in a low-income society where violence is the norm. I didn’t love it, I didn’t really even like it that much, but I can see that it is well written and I still don’t really understand why I didn’t connect with it, so I scored it 3*, which is the same as the rest of the group. Maybe you need to give it a go?
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – Agatha Christie
I love Agatha Christie, I love Christmas, what could be more perfect that Agatha Christie at Christmas? Nothing, that’s what. This book, however, was unfortunately not perfect at all. I was hoping that it would be festive, with some lovely descriptions of a gorgeous, beautifully decorated tree and the delicious smells of festive food, of plum pudding or mulled wine. Sadly there was nothing particularly Christmassy about the story, it takes place in a family home at Christmas, and that’s it.
Yes, it’s a Christie Whodunnit, and one that I didn’t already know (which is in itself a Christmas miracle considering how obsessed I was with her book as a teenager), so it was a fairly enjoyable read. The joy of the story is that it didn’t take much brain-power to follow the plot, which is a lovely thing in the stressful run-up to Christmas Panto season, but it did leave me feeling a bit disappointed. I have read many Christie books and they were all better than this one, that doesn’t make it bad, but it was weak. If you like Christie give it a read, If you expect it to be Christmassy, don’t bother! I gave the book 3.5* and the other members of the group scored it between 3-4* so it’s a definite maybe for your list!