Three reviews from Mount TBR

I am really, really trying to finish the Mount TBR reading challenge this year. I generally hit a road block in March as I read the Stella Prize lists, and again in August when the Melbourne Writers Festival provides a lovely distraction and lots of new books. At my current rate, I’ll need to read five books per month from my TBR stack in order to hit the target. It’s doable…

So, three old-school Twitter* reviews of Mount TBR books I’ve read over the last month –

Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey

Spectacular start (fascinating detail, heartbreaking and understandable ‘imaginary friend’ situation). Fizzled toward end (which lacked the insight and depth of the rest).


The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

Sparkling, astute, sharp.  I never tire of the perfectly outrageous Mitford.


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

It was all downhill for me and Eugenides after The Virgin Suicides. This one was so overdone that it was stifling. Layered use of Greek mythology only redeeming feature.


*of 140 characters or less.

13 responses

  1. Love Mitford! I think I liked Middlesex more than you but I didn’t love it, and totally agree its been downhill since The Virgin Suicides. Good luck with your challenge – I need to follow suit for sure…

    • There are some terrific Mitford audiobooks available – the accents add to the fun.
      The Greek family stuff in Middlesex was so overdone that it felt almost like a parody (but clearly I’m in the minority on this one).

  2. I really enjoyed Middlesex because of the social history it entailed. I read it when it came out so can’t remember a lot now. Maybe I would feel it was dated now?

    My daughter loves Mitford. I must read her one day.

    • I actually do think it is dated. I really felt like Eugenides was mansplaining for 500+ pages, and what made it worse was that half the time he was doing it from a female point-of-view.

      I know there has been lots of debate about cultural and gender appropriation and for the most part I think if there’s sensitivity in an author’s words they can write whatever character they want (as long as they’re prepared to be told they’ve got it wrong!) but in this book, no point-of-view felt authentic. I do wonder if it was published today, how it would be received.

      • I really can’t comment because I read it so long ago… But what you say is interesting. All I remember is really enjoying the grand expanse of immigrant experience in the US. Much of it rang true to me… As I recollect!!

      • There were elements of the immigrant experience that were excellent (particularly the prejudice between groups of immigrants) but it was the family dynamics that felt a little off to me… the women were all hysterical and the men, overbearing… perhaps this was appropriate for the time period but it seemed it was attributed to culture (Greek chorus etc) rather than gender.

        Anyway, there woo time be any more from this author for me (Middlesex was the fourth I’d read of his).

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