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I have never read Joanna Trollope books before. I don't suppose her books are aimed at 30-something men. However, the blurb of this one caught my eye, and I had been impressed with a number of the Quick Reads publications already.
Trollope's tale is of Alice, a woman with a husband and two kids, and a secret - she can't read. People have helped her cover this up her whole life, and she is now at a stage where not reading dents her confidence. Her husband and kids walk all over her, as does her boss and pretty much everyone else she comes across. However, when she decides she wants to learn to read, she chooses the most unlikely of tutors, and things start to change.
It's a nice enough story, and very fitting with the Quick Reads books, which are designed to encourage people to read more, and to help the older person who isn't the most accomplished reader get into the swing of things. Alice is a nice enough character, and her kids Craig and Becky are well described. Husband Ed remains rather faint as a character throughout - I found it hard to work him out, and is definitely the weakest of the main characters.
Alice's character develops very progressively as the book continues. It's only a short story and not designed to give long and flowing passages of description. As a result, things seem to go quite quickly, and the characterisation of some of the other characters is a little lost. The message of finding help in the most unlikely of places is delivered quite well, and it has a nice ring to it after a while.
I found the book started off very well, too, which is so important with a short story. One that takes a good number of pages to get into is often a bit disappointing, as there aren't many pages to start with, let alone having to waste a bunch of them on rambling introduction and awkward flowing. The Book Boy is an okay read. As I said, I'm not the intended target audience: it's definitely more one for the ladies, this. However, I can recognise good writing and this is it. Trollope has some nice characters and a well thought out story. Nothing special as far as I am concerned, but well written nonetheless. The Book Boy is available for £1.99, as are all of the Quick Reads books.