I received this book for my birthday in January but having read some not-so-positive reviews of it on various sites and forums, I put it to the bottom of my reading pile and wasn't particularly relishing getting around to it. I'd previously read 'The Secret Shopper's Revenge' by the same author and did enjoy that so I was hoping that I'd get into it once I started reading it.
Tracey is a thirty-something mother-of-two who is utterly bored of her normal life. Her husband works away for much of the time and she admits to not even liking him much in the first place anymore. When she spots an advert from a tv company who are looking to film a series around a school reunion, she jumps at the chance to liven things up and catch up with her old friends - after all, she was the most popular girl at school and there should be any number of former classmates leaping at the chance to attend the reunion. In reality, Tracey was the school bully and didn't have many real friends, or at least, not the kind that would want to see her again in a hurry. Is the reunion sunk before it's even got off the ground?
Tracey wasn't a character that I particularly liked, which is quite unusual for the chick lit type books that I tend to read as the main female characters tend to be likeable. She came across as a bit of a bitch and for much of the book didn't show any remorse for having made Suzanne's life such a misery during their schooldays. There was a very brief moment around the middle of the book when I felt some momentary sympathy for Tracey as she breaks down about her unhappy marriage but that was gone in a flash and I was back to feeling very unsympathetic towards her again. After that, there were more brief moments of sympathy but my overriding emotion towards her was one of dislike and she's not the kind of person I would have been comfortable having around me at school or in adulthood.
The writing style flips about between past and present tense. When the narrative is focusing on Tracey, it is almost always in the present tense and gives the impression that we're with Tracey at that very moment. This is reinforced by the chatty tone of her sections and it's almost as if she's talking us through what's happening at that precise moment. For other characters, the narrative tends to be in the past tense as if it's already happened. This may sound a bit confusing as the narrative moves between characters such as Tracey, Suzanne, Boris (aka Helen, a friend from school) and Gary (Tracey's ex), but it doesn't feel that way when you're reading the book. What is slightly more confusing is the flipping between the past and the present to give us a better insight into Tracey's schooldays. Granted, this doesn't happen too much until the latter section of the book and at the top of many sections of the narrative is the place that that part of the plot takes place and if there's a change in time, the date as well to make things a bit easier to understand but it still took me a while to cotton on in some places that this was a flashback and not in the present day. Each chapter tends to be fairly short and is usually only a matter of pages, which makes the book move along at quite a quick pace.
All in all, I thought that this was a decent enough book but not a riveting page-turner. I was intrigued to see whether anyone much would actually turn up for the reunion as that would be humilating enough for someone who prided themselves on being popular, but the fact that it's a televised reunion would make it all the worse! When the character of Suzanne enters the equation, things picked up for me as I wanted to see whether she would take an opportunity to seek revenge if it arose given that she's now in a position to turn the tables. You'll have to read the book to see if any opportunity does arise but it was that possibility that kept me going with the book given my dislike of Tracey's character.
I have just finished reading Old School Ties by Kate Harrison, and decided to review it whilst it is still fresh in my mind as I do not feel it is a book which will make its mark on my brain!!
At the beginning of the book we are introduced to the main character, Tracey Mortimer. Tracey is looking back on her life to her school years which she absolutely loved although the same thing can not be said for many of her class mates. Tracey ruled the school people was afraid of her, she was a bully. When she compares her life then to now oh how it has changed with her lowlife of a husband and her two children who she doesn't really understand and with no real career.
Tracey is given the opportunity to have a school reunion which will be filmed by a television company. She accepts the offer as she feels she would like to go back to the way things were when she were at school. We ask ourselves during the book if the reunion will actually go ahead and Tracey meets up with some of her old class mates and hears some home truths as her past comes back to haunt her.
I have to say I have not read a book with a character like Tracey, my opinion of her changed so often during the book, one moment you really feel sorry for her and hope for her to do well, the next she is the bad character of the book and you can't help but not like her. The book focuses a lot on bullying which in this day in age is a big thing, but this book talks from the bullies point of you and she actually doesn't realise the pain she is causing and does not consider herself as a bully.
The characters in this book are wound in very nicely with the story, and gives you just enough information about each one. All this said I did not find it an overly enjoyable book. I feel usually when I am reading a book as if there is a beginning, middle and an end to a book where as with this book I always felt as if I was a t the beginning of the book it didn't seem to progress and didn't go in depth with the story. I would only recommend this if you want a very light easy read.
RRP £6.99 buy one get one half price in whsmith