The Literature Hub
Reviewed by Ashleigh
Author: Lionel Shriver
Publisher & Pages: Fourth Estate (HarperCollins), 529 pages
Blurb: Shep Knacker has long saved for ‘the Afterlife’, an idyllic retreat in the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Exasperated that his wife, Glynis, has concocted endless excuses why it’s never the right time to go, Shep finally announces he’s leaving for a Tanzanian island, with or without her. Yet Glynis has some news of her own: she’s deathly ill. Shep numbly puts his dream aside, while his nest egg is steadily devastated by staggering bills that their health insurance only partially covers. Astonishingly, illness not only strains their marriage but saves it.
Read time: Couldn’t finish it.
Caution: Writing dragged on and on and on and on and on and on...
Caution: Far too much ‘purple prose’.
Caution: The author really went into depth with each subject.
Caution: This was a snooze-fest.
Review: I was bored. Seriously, fall-asleep bored. I made it to page 264 before I slammed the book shut in agony. I couldn’t torture myself with this rubbish anymore.
Too many words! That’s my major issue with this book. 80% of the words in this book could be cut out, and the story would still make sense. I don’t need to know how the tap works. I don’t need to know the exact colour of the carpet and what it represents. I want to read a story, not a bunch of descriptions lumped together to form a…well I can’t really call it a novel.
I recommend listening to the audiobook example on Amazon to know what I’m talking about. It mostly goes on about how Shep, the main character, has a blue ringed toothbrush, and his wife has a red ringed toothbrush. This toothbrush is electric. He debates whether or not to take it with him, begins to unscrew it from the wall, and then decides to leave it and screws it back in. It made my ears bleed.
I guess there is a plot to this story, in a way. The main character’s wife gets cancer, so he gives up his plan to leave her to stay and support her and their son. He continues working a job he hates just so his health insurance can pay for his wife’s cancer treatment. Well it only partially covers the treatment, so he has to use his $700,000 savings to pay the rest of the costs.
But hey, the main character’s best friend also gets his own chapters, and his own story. He likes to talk about random stuff quite frequently, and I quickly became quite bored with his stories, much like his wife. Eventually I skimmed through his parts of the book. (Actually, I found myself skimming through this entire book).
In one chapter, the MC’s best friend is talking about how he is no longer a man because of his scarred, limp dick (that’s what you get for having cheap enlargement surgery!). Now, this was my second attempt at reading this book, and as I was reading, I kept wondering when the interesting part was coming up. I was so sure I remembered him chopping his dick off with a meat cleaver, but I think I might have daydreamed that to make the book more interesting.
Oh wait…no, I didn’t imagine that. I just read through the reviews on Amazon and yes, Shep’s best friend hacked off his own penis and shot himself. What a depressing book!
If an enjoyable, interesting story is what you’re after, DO NOT read this. You’ll be bored to tears.
SIDE NOTE: This book has been reviewed by major newspapers and publications, and they’ve had nothing but good things to say about this book. Now, I’m sorry, but what book were they reading? It clearly wasn’t So Much For That.
Star Rating: 0 Stars.
Available in: Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD