When Bloomsbury offered Brother of the More Famous Jack for early review of the reprint of this classic British novel, I was intrigued by the odd title and the lovely cover.
When I read the blurb by Elizabeth Gilbert, whom I like very much, and that Trapido is a a well known and celebrated author in Britain, and this is novel is a witty observation on manners, relationships, and a female bildungsroman, my brain became all inflated with anticipation.
But then I started this story about a narcissistic, flighty, and impressionable young woman and it all sort of deflated.
As others have said, yes, there are elements of heartbreak here to which the reader is supposed to relate, but I find it difficult to relate to a character who has eyes for an older man whom she discovers in very short order is gay and so is thus heartbroken (she's known him for such a very short amount of time, and everyone around her immediately told her he was gay, that to claim herself in love him him was ludicrous), and so instantly, instantly turns around falls in love with the next handsome boy in line of sight, with absolutely no reason for doing so. Difficult to feel sorry for or relate to a heartbroken character who couldn't possibly be feeling any semblance of actual love or even strong affection.
And so... yeah, I abandoned the book.
I wonder, and even strongly suspect, that I could be making a mistake here. The novel is highly rated on Goodreads, and I did laugh at much of what I read. The writing is witty and smart:
He wears his shirt unbuttoned and reveals to me, thereby, that the hair grows like a blanket to his navel. I assume this to be a minor deformity which he bears with fortitude.
But also sort of distracting and confusing. The truth is, I do actually believe I might try this book or another of Trapido's funny looking novels in the future. But today, this week, this season, it all felt a bit flat and dated and weary to me, and I just didn't feel any desire to keep going with it right now.
But just a heads up that I may very well eat my own words at some later date....