Saturday 24 March 2012

Review - The Pools by Bethan Roberts

The PoolsThe Pools by Bethan Roberts

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Blurb From Goodreads

“A complex anatomy of a murder. Bethan Roberts is a fearless writer. . . . A compelling debut.”—Louise Welsh“A cool and relevant novel . . . an urban Cold Comfort Farm . . . expertly crafted.”—Sunday ExpressMiddle England, mid-1980s: the kind of place where nothing ever happens. Except something has happened: A fifteen-year-old boy called Robert has died down by the pools. And half a dozen lives will come unraveled. The Pools subtly reveals the tensions and terrors that underpin apparently ordinary lives, causing them to spiral suddenly out of control.Bethan Roberts lives in Brighton in the south of England. The Pools is her first novel.

My Review

The story starts with the death of 15 year old Robert and the chapters flick between Howard his dad and Joanna (not sure what she was to Robert, a classmate or even an acquaintance). Then it jumps back to Howard and his meeting with Roberts mum and their relationship to present day and Joanna's first encounter with Rob to present day.

Howard and Kathryn's relationship makes for good reading and how it changes and they are with their son, Howard's neediness and the different dimensions of his relationship with his wife. Joanna I wasn't sure what to make of her, there seemed to be no reason (none that is explained) to her behaviors and to be honest I didn't much like her character at all but she is a big part in the story.

The event that the book is centered around (Rob's death) is very briefly covered and to be honest I think I would have given a much better rating and enjoyed it more had we had more time devoted to it than say the toying relationship between Joanna and her step dad or even her interactions with her own father. Either way not a bad first novel but I am not raving over it either, so a likable 3/5.

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