Not ever having done a real book review before, it always felt like something I really needed to do, being a couch critic and all. When I finally finished Coffee at Little Angels by Nadine Rose Larter, I knew that it was time to try my hand at it. In a real pen to paper kind of way.
This will be the most unconventional, unprofessional book review you’ll ever see, but what the heck, this is me, I kinda do things differently, and this is how I feel…
I want to do the story justice, without revealing too much of the plot, but I find that to do that, my focus will have to be less on the overall storyline, and more on the individual parts of the book and what they meant to me as reader.
The story captivates you immediately with its opening line: “I went jogging on the morning that I died” and you go “Huh?” So off course you want to know how the hell that’s going to work, is this the end before the beginning kind of thing? I read Chapter 1 in a sneak preview before the book launch, and found that I couldn’t wait for the rest. When I eventually got to read the whole book, I couldn’t put the bloody thing down. I was reading it off the laptop in the car (sadly it has only been released on E-Book so far) because I couldn’t wait to get home, which turned out to be a good idea because we were driving up and down for almost forty minutes! I didn’t cook, didn’t clean, and didn’t do anything except simply devouring the story.
I must confess that I am kind of an obsessive reader; I usually have to finish the book as soon as possible. I’m sure it’s some kind of instant gratification thing, so if you have more self discipline, I’m sure you could take it easierJ.
You meet a group of teenagers, ten or so years later, and discover the dynamic of their group. Reading it really resonated with me because I could totally relate, having lived in a similar small town. The characters are rich in detail, interesting and they felt so real to me, that their loss felt like my own. The book is well written, flows well and isn’t written in that stuffy archaic tone which so many writers use to prove they are as good as they want to be. It also has the added bonus of having excellent grammar with sufficient slang to make it authentic. But then, that’s not what you want to hear, is it? You want to know what I loved and what I hated about the book? So here it is:
The conversational writing style; I didn’t read the book; I was part of the conversation.
Phillip; he doesn’t really have his own story, and yet you learn so much more through that. The fact that you see so little from his perspective is the reason that you get to love him so much. There is that deep love and peace about him that feels so painfully real.
Sarah; A lot of writers want to make their sweet character all about the sugar, but her flaws are what makes her so special and unique. I love her because Phillip does, okay?
I love the authenticity of each character, how the writing style changes so subtly that you don’t realize it, simply to suit the voice, to suit the personality of each individual. Many writers make the mistake of keeping the same style, and whilst most readers don’t notice such small things, as a writer it has left me breathless in awe, and a little envious.
I love the Roald Dahl feel of the ending, without saying anything, the author says it all.
I love the shameless way with which real issues are mentioned. So many people are too afraid to offend when putting pen to paper. My opinion is that it’s better to offend than hide the truth, and Nadine Rose Larter was able to state the facts the way they are, racism and sexism, without relying on that to build a story. It’s simply mentioned in passing, the way it would be in real life. It’s a reality, not a constant violent atrocity. Too many writers rely on the evil of those actions to snag their reader. I love that she didn’t need to.
I love that there is magic in the book. Well, the suggestion of it at least, not like super sparks and glowy things, but real magic, in the sense of dew drops on caper leaves. The kind that leaves you misty eyed with hope.
I love that the book had me howling with laughter one minute and sobbing the next (my husband was starting to think I had bipolar lol)
Truth to tell, I can’t honestly say I hated anything about it. Some parts I felt could say more and others less, but then that is the problem of reading a book instead of writing it. You want to know more, because you feel it will prove a point, or feed that craving, but sometimes that’s the point, isn’t it?
All in all, this is the best book I’ve read in some time, and haven’t cried for a fictional character like this since Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows (The characters were my friends through seven books okay, and now some of them die?!)
Well, do yourself a favour and buy a copy. You won’t regret it. This story will stay with me for a very long time, in that real, I was there kind of way. I always say that humanity needs the words that lead you to Cairo and back, because seeing pictures isn’t the same as being there. Well my friends, this was Cairo, and I was there. Don’t look at the pictures, buy the book here