Book Review #9: “Brother of the More Famous Jack”

For the ladies of No Boys Allowed Reviews, a blog post without disagreement is like a tea party without cucumber sandwiches.

cucumber sandwiches

A tea party essential. Absolutely no crusts, please.

Last month’s outpouring of affection for The Rosie Project was quite lovely, but could it possibly continue?

In the hope of extending the love-fest another month, we turned to the author of the only other book we all liked: Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?.

In The New York Times‘s “By the Book” column, Semple calls South African writer Barbara Trapido one of her favorite women writers. She also expresses a particular fondness for Trapido’s coming-of-age novel Brother of the More Famous Jack, which she describes as a “refreshing” in that it is “written by a woman, about a woman, yet still manages to be an unabashed celebration of men.”

Yes, please! With that, we had our next book club pick.

brother-of-the-more-famous-jack“Stylish, suburban Katherine is eighteen when she is propelled into the centre of Professor Jacob Goldman’s rambling home and his large eccentric family. As his enchanting yet sharp-tongued wife Jane gives birth to her sixth child, Katherine meets the volatile, stroppy Jonathan and his older, more beautiful brother Roger, who wins her heart. First love quickly leads to heartbreak and sends her fleeing to Rome but, ten years on, she returns to find the Goldmans again. A little wiser and a lot more grown up, Katherine faces her future.”

The book seems to have a little something to please each of us: a witty heroine, a British setting, a possibility of a happy ending. It sounds promising, doesn’t it? And Semple couldn’t lead us astray, right?

Well, let’s just say pass the cucumber sandwiches…

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