All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Best Of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

on March 27, 2017

The Best Of Adam Sharp
Graeme Simsion
Text Publishing
2016, 372p
Read from my local libary

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

A novel about love, music and coming to terms with the past, from the author of the international bestseller The Rosie Project.

On the cusp of fifty, Adam Sharp has a loyal partner, earns a good income as an IT contractor and is the music-trivia expert at quiz nights. It’s the lifestyle he wanted, but something’s missing.

Two decades ago, on the other side of the world, his part-time piano playing led him into a passionate relationship with Angelina Brown, who’d abandoned law studies to pursue her acting dream. She gave Adam a chance to make it something more than an affair—but he didn’t take it. And now he can’t shake off his nostalgia for what might have been.

Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously? How far will he go for a second chance?

I found this book quite weird.

And not in a good, quirky way.

I loved Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project and were that the only book of his I’d ever read, my expectations going into this would’ve been astronomical. But I also read The Rosie Effect and that definitely took quite a lot of the shine off for me. So it was with interest that I picked this up from a display shelf at my local library. I was curious if I would find it as engaging as the first Rosie book or as disappointing as the second. Unfortunately for me, it has more in common with the latter.

Adam is a 50-ish IT worker and pianist from London, who out of the blue, gets an email from a woman he had a relationship with 25 years ago when he was working in Melbourne. He soon finds himself reliving their short but intense relationship and he’s unable to really focus on anything else but Angelina. When he breaks up with his partner, Angelina invites him to come and stay with her and her husband in their holiday house in France. And he actually goes. Seriously, as soon as I hit this point in the book, I remember thinking ‘no good can come of this and why would anyone do it?’. But Adam seems to deliberate not at all about this, about why Angelina might be getting in contact with him now, why she’s inviting him based on a handful of emails and one skype conversation to stay with her and her husband.

It gets way more bizarre once Adam is actually in France but it’s impossible to discuss the WTF-ery that occurs without spoiling the heck out of the book. To me this read as some sort of middle-aged fantasy about ‘the one that got away’ where a bunch of dream-like things happen but there are no actual real repercussions. It made so little sense and some of it was actually decidedly creepy. There’s a whole bunch of stuff going on that Adam is kept deliberately ignorant about and it made me quite stabby. But then he was ridiculously naive for going there anyway, so perhaps he deserved to be the pawn in an incredibly childish game.

I didn’t really like Angelina all that much when Adam met her in the 1980s in Melbourne. She was married (although sort of separated) and I found her manipulative but ultimately, so incredibly boring in her perfectness. It seemed she was merely practicing for middle age because Angelina 25 years later is quite frankly, even worse. I really disliked her and I disliked the person Adam was around her too. I had some liking for Charlie for a while but at the same time he’s weirdly okay with what’s going on and just wants to keep cooking and talking about alcohol all the time and why are you like this Charlie, because it makes no sense. Then when I realised what was happening, to be honest, his behaviour still made no sense.

There’s a lot of music in this book – Adam plays the piano in bars outside of his day job and he has a deep connection to the songs he plays. Some remind him of his father, others of Angelina and the time in Melbourne and music buffs who enjoys 60s, 70s etc may really appreciate those parts of the story. The music is a little before my time (child of the 80s, not a Dylan fan, etc) so it added little to the story for me personally.

I found myself baffled by this book and although I at first thought that the early part (the section of the book that takes place in Melbourne) had promise and perhaps it did for those that enjoyed the character of Angelina. And the idea of completely changing your life a quarter of a century later because of an email – and Adam can argue all he likes that it wasn’t because of that, but to be honest, it clearly read to me that it utterly was because of that – is just so bizarre and pointless. I felt profoundly sorry for Claire, Adam’s present day partner, who was treated in such an offhand manner, like she wasn’t even anyone important. Adam gave her as much consideration and information as he would a flatmate he never saw and then has the nerve to check her emails while he’s in France to see what she’s up to without him.

I was quite disappointed in this…..not just for the infidelity story line but also in the execution. So many implausible seeming things in one book.


Book #59 of 2017


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