Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Radley's Review

The RadleysThe Radleys by Matt Haig

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Meet the Radleys

Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret

From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.

My Take: This is just an enjoyable read. British humor that I've grown rather fond of. I thank "The Office" for that. And Ricky Gervaise. But I guess that's redundant. It's just FUNNY. Yet not an obvious funny.

The story is that Peter and Helen are middle class British people living a middle class life. Peter is a family doctor in a little village. They have two children named Rowan and Clara. They are always tired, sickly looking, and pale. Can't sleep at night and Clara is trying out the vegan lifestyle. She keeps throwing up.

The truth is that the Radleys are abstaining vampires. Clara and Rowan only know they are unpopular at school and get rashes from the sun. And then one night Clara does something completely out of character. Okay, it's actually pretty morbid. There was blood, someone died, and Clara was stunned. Too late Peter and Helen decided they should have shared their dirty little secret with their children sooner.

What follows is the introduction of Peter's "practicing" brother, Will, who is quickly on the outs of the vampire community. Too arrogant and not very careful. More secrets are spilled along with a little more blood, discoveries made, and Nancy just chuckled on her sofa. Just British funny stuff. It's an acquired taste and I believe Americans are coming on board via "The Office," as previously mentioned.

The story line is original - Vampires practicing abstinence, and yes, there are sexual innuendos throughout. Best quote from book comes from Rowan, speaking to his sister, Clara.

"We're middle-class and we're British. Repression is in our veins." Very funny.

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