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Review of "By The Time You Read This" a novel by Lola Jaye.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, the first from the pen of Lola Jaye.
The book is published by Harper Collins under ISBN number 0007266553 . The book contains 321 pages and bears the jacket price of £6.99.
The cover is eye catching and modern, a very feminine floral design which fits well with the contemporary fiction/chick lit genre of the novel.
Twelve year old Lois Bates is devastated when her mother decides to re-marry. Lois and her mother have been alone since Lois was five years old, following the untimely death of Lois' father, Kevin.
Kevin Bates passed away from an illness, which the book never actual touches upon at the age of 30.
Lois cannot understand that her mother wishes to marry again and feels that her comfortable life with her mother is in jeopardy. Lois life is perfectly organised to her liking, she lives next door to her best friend Carla, with whom she enjoys a very close relationship. In fact Carla's whole family, parents and older brother are more like an extension of her own family. The advent of a step father doesn't suit Lois at all, especially as he is a bingo caller, a job which she views with the scathing criticism many readers will recognise as typical teenage logic!
Lois is approached at the wedding by her paternal aunt who gives her a package from her late father. The package turns out to be Kevin Bates last act of fatherhood, a Manual of life. Kevin has written the Manual rules, only to read each new entry on Lois' birthday, the manual is private between Lois and her father and no forward peeping. The manual contains entries from Lois 12th birthday until her 30th, the age at which her father died.
Kevin Bates wrote the manual when he knew that he was dying in the hope that he could help and advise his only child through growing up, even though he was not going to be around. Once completed, he had passed it to his sister to give to Lois when she reached 12.
The plot winds through Lois' life until her thirtieth birthday, taking the reader through her growing pains, relationships and life with input via the Manual, from Lois' father.
More I will not say here for fear of spoiling the plot for others!
The Author, Publisher Details and Price
"By the time You Read This" is, as I have previously stated the first book from Lola Jaye.
Ms Jaye was born in London. She completed a BSC Degree in Psychology at The University of East London and then went on to complete a Masters in Psychotherapy and Counseling at Regents College. She is currently employed by the NHS as a counsellor in North West London.
More information about Lola and her reasons for writing this novel, can be found on her website. www.lolajaye.com
77-85 Fulham Palace Road
**Price and Availability**
My copy was given to me by my daughter, who bought it for the princely sum of £1 in Asda's summer sale! The jacket price is £6.99 and copies can be obtained from www.amazon.co.uk for £4.99 (new) or 0.01p (used).
My Thoughts and Conclusion
Although marketed as an adults novel, I really feel this style of writing is more suited to the teenage market! That said, it is written in a very easy going, conversational style which will, I am sure, appeal to lovers of Chick Lit.
The subject matter is emotional, a girl's growing pains as she reaches adulthood is a tried and trusted novelists formula. Lola Jaye's characters are somewhat sketchy in my opinion, I felt she could have developed them a little more in order to make a more rounded novel. I quite enjoyed the book, I probably wouldn't read it again however as the genre is not one I usually select. All in all, as first novels go, Ms Jaye has produced a very readable book, it is not one for me personally, but if you enjoy Chick Lit, do give this a try.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 August 2009
Also published on other review sites under the same name.
I was shopping in Asda last week and walked past a display of books for £1. This is where I picked up 'By the Time You Read This' by Lola Jaye. I'd never heard anything about this author before (It turns out to be her debut) but the title caught my attention. One of my favourite books of all time is 'PS I Love you' by Cecelia Ahern and I expected a similar sort of story. I read this book in about half a day when I was ill in bed and it kept me occupied.
**** The Author ****
Lola Jaye currently woeks as a counsellor for the NHS and has a degree in Psychology and masters in Psychotherapy. She has a blog, 'Diary of an unpublished author' and pages on myspace, bebo and facebook. For more information on this author go to www.lolajaye.com
**** The plot ****
The book follows the life of Lois Bates from the age of 12 through to 30. The story starts with her mum remarrying and Lois receiving a 'Manual' from her Aunt- her dead fathers sister. Lois has mixed reactions to receving this manual. Her instant reaction is to burst into tears as it provides proof that her father really is dead and is not just going to walk back into her life, although she has known this for 7 years there was always a slight hope. The manual has an entry for each birthday starting at 12 and finishing at 30 (the age her father was when he died) as well as extra entries about varrious things from exams and career to relationships.
The book is based around the entries in the manual and the narrative fills in the gaps between with Lois reflecting on the manual and events which lead her to reading it.
***** Themes ****
The main theme in this book is of course Lois growing up without her father. The fact he is dead and can't be there leads her to hero worship him and blame her mum for things that were not under her control.
Lois maturing and rebuilding a relationship with her mum. Lois was obviously a daddy's girl and Lois's dad is not spoken about in the house. Lois thinks this is because her mum doesn't care about him.
Following the trials and tribulations of a teenager growing up in the 1980s. Also having to adjust to a new step father and step sister. The issue of calling another man 'dad'.
The idea of leaving someone messages from beyond the grave and being able to pass on advice and tips you won't be around to share.
Lois coming to a realisation that as long as she hero worships her father other reltaionships are near impossible as no one else will ever compare.
***** Good Bits *****
The fact this book is written from a father to a daughter who was only 5 when he died. He follows all the themes and issues she will face as she grows up including relationships and sex. The way it is written you can easily imagine how difficult and perhaps cringe worthy this would be for any father to do.
'With Stars On' A song that Lois and her father used to dance too. She has forgotten about this until it is mentioned in the manual. This allows the author to coin the phrase 'I love you with stars on' which is quite a nice touch and reminds me a little of PS I Love You.
The camera he has left her has a picture of her father she herself has taken and although it is really bad it is her most treasured possesion and leads her to a change in career path.
The relationship between Lois, her best friend Carla and Carla's brother Corey is really believable. They grow up as naighbours and there lives are almost destined to be interlinked despite 'growing apart'
The way the reltionship between Lois and her mum is so effectively portrayed. How could any mother compete with the happy memories of a cherished father felt by a 5 year old. How could she compete with a manual to which Lois can't answer back? The fact Lois hides the manual from her mother and later finds out her mother knew all about it. You see Lois and her mother confide in each other more as she grows up.
The character of Lois was, for me anyway, easy to relate to. I did however find myself wanting to yell and slap her when it came to relationship issues (just as well she isn't real). I guess however this is a refection of how well she was brought to life.
**** The not so good bits ****
Okay people bearing in mind this is just my opinion I found myself at various stages of the book wondering why on earth I was bothering to read it. It isn't anything overly exciting or gripping or a 'new' story but as I said I was ill in bed and I'm glad I did finish it although the ending it a bit predictable.
I felt OLD reading this book (and thats never good). Not really sure why this was though. It was set in the 80s which does feel like a long time ago to me and perhaps it was the trip down memory lane in this resspect that left me feeling aged. Maybe as well I was left feeling old beyond my years by some of Lois's attitudes to life.
I was hoping for another PS I Love You. Perhaps I am being unfiar to Lola Jayne comparing the two but that is personally what my y hope were. In this respect 'By the time you read this' lacked emotion for me. I love books I can laugh and cry too (hey I'm a girl) and this book had me do neither whereas PS I love you had me do both at the same time.
***** Overall *****
This book was ok. Perhaps if I had read this one a few years ago I would have raved about it. Saying that however I read it in about 3-4 hours and literally didn't put it down and it didn't put me to sleep either. Worth a read but don't expect greatness.
I bought this book for £1 in Asda but it has a RRP of £6.99 It is currently selling for £5.49 on Amazon or £0.01 for an old copy.
Lola Jaye also has a new book out called 'Reaching for the Stars' for £1.99
What original complelled me to read this was the title and the blurb on the back - i'm a sucker for sopy films and books - i mean what girl doesnt!!
i usually like to read before bed as it helps me relax and switch off which helps me sleep and i thought this book would!!
This book is about a girl called Lois Bates who father dies when she only 5 years old. She doesnt have many memories apart from a photo on her bedside table and the pain of losing him is still very much raw.
However just before her 12th birthday, at her mothers wedding she is presented with 'The Manual' from her aunt.
The Manual is more of a guide to Lois with various advice and entries from her dad - however certain entries are only allowed to be read on each birthday from the age 12 to Lois's 30th Birthday. Other times she is only able to refer to the miscellaneous and read previous entries inbetween brithdays.
Throughout the book Lois goes from success to success trying to make her dad proud of her - however because of this she very rarely allows people to get close to her and seems to have a chip on her shoulder like everyone is getting at her and therefore reverts into her own world and shuts everyone out.
I must say i was slightly disappointed - i was expecting it to really tug at the heart strings however it is a nice easy read However good book for a first try and nicey written which i expect will develop as Lola Jayne continues to write more.
Lois Bates lost her father at a young age. When she was 12, she received a manual written by her father. This manual has an entry for her to read every year on her birthday until she is 30. This manual guides her through life, from school bullies, to getting a job, to relationships.
This book is quite easy going, so is good if you don't want to have to concentrate too hard. It does take a bit of getting into, as the story is a bit slow to begin with, but as it goes on, it gets better.
I did enjoy reading this book, but it's using a similar idea to that in 'P.S I Love You' by Celia Adhern. I personally didn't feel that this book was quite as good as Adhern's, so if picking one to read, I would choose that one. Having said that, the situation of the characters in the two books is different, so it's definitely worth considering.
Overall, a reasonable read, and good if you like easy, gentle reads. I wouldn't recommend it if you are someone who likes a more gritty story.
****By the time you read this****
Lois Bates has never got over losing her father at a young age so when she is given "the manual"(written by him) from her aunt the day of her mothers wedding she can barely bring herself to read it.She does obviously and on the front page of it are the following rules:
*she can only read a new entry on her birthday and there is one from the ages 12-30
*it is private between him and her
*she isn't allowed to look at the next entry until her birthday.
Needless to say she uses this manual as a guide to life and when ever different situations crop up she always thinks to herself "what would my dad do in this situation?"
The main character is Lois Bates.I think she has this unrealistic view about her dad,as he died when she was young and she can only remember the good stuff.She sometimes takes the fact that her father is no longer there on other people.
Even though he is dead he plays a major part in the book.We get to hear all about his life through the manual.
Corey and Carla.Next door neighbours and best friends . Carla is the total opposite of Lois -she is carefree and wonders aimlessly from job to job.
Corey-The love of her life or is it?
I found this book really easy to read.
Price-it says 6.99 on the back of my book and i think i got it from Waterstones in there 3 for 2 offer.
More information about the author can be found at www.lolajaye.com