Gents is a short novel written by Warwick Collins that attempts to deal with the issues of race, sexuality and tolerance to others with a degree of humour. Based in a Gentleman's lavatory the book follows a group of Jamaican toilet attendants who though no real fault of their own, find their jobs on the line.
Now I know you're not meant to judge books by their cover, but I have to point-out that the artwork on the cover of Gents is just great, guaranteed to get your attention if you were browsing the book shelves not really looking for anything. The few characters in the book have been created well, they are three dimensional and despite a lack of some back-story they seem real and likable enough. The plot is there and good enough and the storytelling is crisp flowing easily from page to page. The author has made good use of descriptive details and dialogue. Thankfully the book isn't explicit (in this case it's simply not required). I found Gents to be quite funny in places and it has a refreshing ironic undertone.
Sadly this book came highly recommended to me, but as such, I found it to be over rated, offering nothing to really challenge you. I like a book that I can engage in, something gripping and exciting or just something that just makes you think, and while Gents has it's moments it doesn't really fulfil the reader. As I've already mentioned Gents is a short novel spanning some 172 pages, but considering the double line spacing, overly kind margins, and noticeably large font size there's not really a great deal of words, probably one of the shortest books I've ever read. Now that's not necessary a bad thing but I just seemed to be getting stuck into the book when I suddenly found myself on the last few pages. Gents definitely would have been better composed as a short story, and if Warwick Collins can write a few other stories to the same high standard and combine them together in the one book, then he would probably have a best seller on his hands. I would disagree with anybody who claims that this is a "masterpiece" despite being a good book, it came in somewhat average, and I've read far better (and far worse).
I would recommend Gents, for the reasons above, but at the same time it's not one of those must reads and I'm not going to tell you to run out and buy it straightaway. If your fascinated by the issues raised then you might get more from the book than I did, otherwise you'll more than likely do the same thing I did after completing it - - put it down somewhere unlikely to pick it up again, which is a shame really as the author can obviously write.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)
Thanks for reading.