26 March 2014

Review: Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

Pandora is a successful businesswoman, married to Fletcher and step mother to his two children.  In the last few years Fletcher has become a health nut, heavily into cycling. Meanwhile Pandora loves to cook and once ran her own catering business so Fletcher's aversion to food is getting on her nerves.

Pandora's brother Edison is a jazz musician and when she learns he's been experiencing a run of bad luck she agrees to let him stay with her family for a while.  When Pandora arrives at the airport to pick him up she's shocked to find her once handsome brother is now morbidly obese and can barely walk.

Fletcher (health fanatic) and Edison (foodaholic) inevitably clash and what ensues is a fascinating look at family dynamics, social etiquette and relationship loyalties.

Check out this blurb excerpt from GoodReads:

Rich with Shriver’s distinctive wit and ferocious energy, Big Brother is about fat: an issue both social and excruciatingly personal. It asks just how much sacrifice we'll make to save single members of our families, and whether it's ever possible to save loved ones from themselves.  Source: GoodReads

I was gripped by the characters and the plot although there was an overload of jazz content at times, forgivable because it's all Edison talks about.  Lionel Shriver had me in the palm of her hand until an unexpected turn towards the last quarter of the novel.

Without spoiling it, the change in direction left this reader feeling betrayed and a little cross.  Would I recommend Big Brother to other readers after this?  Maybe not, but am I glad I read it? Definitely.  This swing in my enjoyment levels makes it hard for me to give Big Brother a star rating, but I've settled on 'good read'.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Now you've intrigued so that I must read this, Tracey!

  2. Glad to hear it Debbie but you must let me know your thoughts at the end :-) I wonder if you'll feel as I did.


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