Keep Your Friends Close … a review

I picked up this book because the blurb read like a very intriguing plot. Natty and Sean Wainwright are happily married and co-own a successful hotel in the Lake District of England. They are super busy, filling and fitting their lives around each other and around their two daughters. When their younger daughter, Felicity, suffers a medical emergency while in France, Natty has to rush. To help with the care of Alice, the other daughter, and housework, she takes up the offer of an old college buddy. Eve is a psychologist, and soon we find out, a home wrecker. She goes all guns blazing on Sean and seduces him, so much so, that by the time Felicity and Natty are back, Sean wants out.
Now, Natty, devastated and tattered, is trying to scoop up some pieces of her battered self when she receives a note saying that this isn’t even the first time Eve has ‘stolen’ a husband! Natty takes it upon herself to prove to her husband that Eve is not what she seems and in exposing her, try and save her marriage and the lives of her daughters. There are a couple of other sub-plots involving her relationship with her father and her descent into some sort of psychotic behaviour as well. From this point on, the plot twists and turns to an exciting culmination of events. The book was an okay-ish read. Some of the parts of the plot were highly improbable, like the speed for which Sean falls for Eve, how successful she is in wrenching herself into the story, and how easily Natty falls apart. The writing style is decent, Paula Daly has a good flow going, easy-to-read and smooth. But the loopholes and the stretching of imagination was a bit much for me.
Even so I finished it, and it would possibly be a good read for a day or two on a beach holiday or a long haul flight 🙂

The Brinkmeyers … a review

Meet the Brinkmeyers. Mr Brinkmeyer, Hymie, is a middle aged American oil tycoon who moved to England when he got married to his ‘English rose’. That was a long time ago. Since then, he has fathered two seemingly eccentric children, developed an apathy for his wife, fallen in love with his secretary, and developed what he calls ‘blind spots’ – to all of the previous. Mrs Brinkmeyer, or Maggie, is in love with her therapist. Towards the rest of her family, she feels nothing. Kevin, the son, has been expelled from school on account of drug taking and is not housebound, plotting the death of his mother and writing a book about it, to plan it, well you get the picture! Karrie, the daughter, writes rebellious poetry, does not shave on account of being a rebel, and rebels. She has a little boy Cleo and another baby on the way. She has no idea who the father is or the fathers are.

At first glance, this is a supremely messed up and totally dysfunctional family. They have their share of problems and the general lack of communication amongst them means that most of the time, they’re all on their own. The books is presented to us through Hymie’s blog, and Kevin and Karrie’s personal diaries. The author Michael Cameron has told the story in a novel way, seeing as how personal blogs have mushroomed over the last few years and a lot of people find it easier to confide in nameless faceless souls on the internet than their own families. Through this, we also learn, that at the heart of all of the Brinkmeyers’ problems is a constant fear. Hymie’s fear of rejection, Karrie’s fear of failure, Kevin’s fear of ridicule, and Maggie’s fear of being a bad mother and wife.

Many twists and misadventures later the author brings the reader to a point of that tacit understanding that can only happen through words – We’ve all been there. The language is strong and abusive in places, and even through that, the author has successfully achieved to bring each character’s vulnerability to light. I am not a big fan of strong language, but I had to admit, Karrie’s poetry is… ahem… quite striking!

The plot is well-paced and interesting. It is a very good read for people who like a read on a journey, something which is easy to read but leaves you with something important to take away. Bloggers will enjoy the feeling of having fellow bloggers attention in their online space too.

My favourite part: “I am planning his death… A terrible… spectacular… bloody and painful death. Actually, make that a double death – after all there are two of them in this relationship.”