>blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris
Paperback: 527 pages.
Genre: Psychological Thriller.
Source: Given to us by a friend in the UK.
First Sentences : ‘ Once there was a widow with three sons and their names were Black, Brown and Blue. Black was the eldest, moody and aggressive. Brown was the middle child, timid and dull. But Blue was his mother’s favourite. And he was a murderer.
Review Quote: ‘An ingenious and gripping read, it terrified the living daylights out of me’ Daily Express.
My Opinion Very clever and well written but I simply did not enjoy this one.
I have been reading and generally enjoying, sometimes loving the writing of Joanne Harris for a long time. This time with blue eyed boy after reading all 527 pages I am left wondering why I bothered. It was not the writing as that was up to her normal high standards. No this time I just could not get my head around this somewhat strange story. The fascinating aspect of the story and possibly the reason I kept reading was that Synaesthesia plays an important role in the story. Also interesting is that it is written in the form of an online journal. If you have read Gentleman and Players you will recognise the setting for this novel as it is also set in the Yorkshire town of Malbry.
Once upon a time there were three brothers, Black Brown and Blue as they were known by their widowed mother. Blueeyedboy is single, early forties and living at home with his mother. He has a mundane job and no social life apart from his virtual one. He spends a vast amount of time online, on a website he set up it seems to play out his fantasies. Most of his online interaction is with Albertine, with whom in the real world he shares a troubled past. The scenarios he talks about in his web journal are of dark murder. Our protagonist plays out his life on the internet so we slowly learn of his dysfunctional family background and his connections to Emily the blind child prodigy who was also part of his childhood. His mind games will lead you to a conclusion that will not answer all your questions but leave you with something to think about. This I believe was the author’s intention.
It seems I am not alone in my thoughts, as opinion on this novel seems to be very much divided and I quote Joanne Harris : ‘Never has one of my books received such a “Marmite” reaction. Love it or hate it? What kind of reader are you?’ I am not I do not think of a sensitive disposition and I was not terrified as the back cover suggested I might be, I just simply did not enjoy it! Disappointing as after enjoying Gentleman and Players her first psychological thriller, I expected more from this one. Joanne Harris’s writing has in the past tended towards the dark side of human nature but this time I found it just too heavily weighted. Love, Like or Hate this novel will certainly give food for thought especially about the darker side of how one can portray oneself on the internet.
If you have read this I would be very interested to know what your Marmite reaction was.
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