Catching up on reviews

I’ll keep it short…

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

I loved some of the individual characters in this story, and Lewycka is skilled at creating a scene. However, this book tries to do too many things – the themes focused on expectations within relationships, family, and caring for aging parents worked well, but the back-story about inter-generational trauma floundered alongside the satirical humour. Special mention must be made of the ‘Toshiba apples’ (apples stewed in the Toshiba microwave) which made me laugh out loud.


An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

I was genuinely ‘thrilled’ by their last book, The Other Wife, but this one fell flat and had all the things I loathe about thrillers – too far-fetched, and too many details that were so weirdly meticulous that you know they’re clues. And so, I spent much of the book thinking, ‘Why doesn’t she just go to the police and this could be over…?’.


Hearing Maud by Jessica White

Is it a biography? Is it a memoir? It’s both! White recounts her own experience of deafness, in parallel with the fascinating story of Maud Praed, the deaf daughter of 19th century Queensland expatriate novelist Rosa Praed. I enjoyed the format, although the transitions from memoir to biography weren’t always seamless. That said, White’s descriptions of her own experiences are poetic (“…the clamour of cousins…”), and brutally honest.

I picked up this book on the strength of Lisa and Bill’s reviews (they’ve both done comprehensive reviews, so check them out).


Truth in Advertising by John Kenney

It’s been awhile since I read lad-lit, so I was pleased to get stuck into Kenney’s well-written book. He delivers dry humour with an appropriately complex emotional back-story – as the main character’s life falls to bits, he must maintain the smooth exterior that his job in advertising demands. These ‘mismatched’ narratives offer plenty of opportunity for laughs and tears, and the story is surprisingly sad and reflective in parts.


8 responses

  1. Thanks for the mention Kate, I hope lots of your readers give Hearing Maud a try. You and I are opposites in that I only review some of the books I read; and I often choose old books to fit the general theme of my blog rather than attempting keep up with new releases. Luckily, it seems the older they are the more I enjoy reading them.

  2. Ukrainian Tractors was outrageously funny at times but beyond that I recall absolutely. nothing about the book which is very telling.
    I enjoyed Truth in Advertising too – reminded me of an excruciating interview I had with an ad company. We spent most of the time talking about advertising of instant mashed potato.

    • Yes, I remember it as a laugh-out-loud book too, though it had some serious points to make about the way guest farm workers are treated in Britain. It’s chastening to think that when I read it all those years ago, I had no idea that Australia would be doing the same thing…

  3. You’ve confirmed my instinct that I wouldn’t get on with Lewycka’s work. I’m keen on Hearing Maud, though, and I may well give Truth in Advertising a go. It’s been on my TBR for many years.

  4. Pingback: History Memoir and Biography Round Up: March 2020 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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