Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Trick is to Keep Breathing

The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway

What to say... I didn't get it.  I didn't figure out who "Joy" was until 3/4 of the way through, and she's the narrator.

The men are seemingly interchangeable, with no real differentiation between them, and the plot confused me so much in its roundabout way of un-chronologically listing events.  Also the occasional two short lines set on their own in the margin at random intervals.  Weird.

I'm going to presume however that this was a genuine plot device in order to convey the confusion and distress of the narrator's mind, in which case, it worked.  I ended up more puzzled at the end than I had at the beginning. She seems like a bit of a slut, trying to explain away, cover, her mental problems with promiscuous behaviour with any Tom, Dick or Harry, regardless of whether they have families and partners.

I felt that the section of the the novel in the mental institute (or whatever the politically correct term is nowadays - God I sound old) was very well written to convey the horror of being constantly misunderstood and the irritation of being dismissed and labelled, although I think that maybe a definite label and easy 10 step solution is what she expected and wanted in some ways.

However, the most annoying part of the book is most certainly the conclusion, which royally pissed me off.  To finish mourning her dead lover, get rid of her depression and begin living again she..................... (wait for it)................ cut her hair, dyed it purple and got some piercings.


I shouldn't criticise, different things work for different people after all and there is no easy solution yadda yadda yadda. But after plowing through this dull story, I was hoping for something a bit more profound.  It honestly would have been more fitting for her to commit suicide.

Ms. Galloway, congratulations for writing the worst book I have read so far in 2011.

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