This is a book like no other I have ever read and that only, makes it worth reading. This book is Kate Atkinson's third and it has gotten quite good reviews. I did not appreciate it at all at first and thought the first hundred pages was quite boring. It is a book that moves forward through the dialog of its characters and it takes a patient and thorough reader, which I am normally not. The dialog is actually quite brilliant and realistic, but to appreciate it, it needs to be savored. I realized this when I read a bıt aloud to my husband and all of a sudden it was really funny, clever and witty.
Emotionally Weird is about Effie who together with her mother Nora is spending some time in a remote house in Scotland. The mother suggests that they tell each other stories in order to pass time. Effie tells her mother about her - to say the least - odd student life in Dundee. In return she asks her mother to tell the true story of her background. Effie's story dominates the book and it has twists and turns like no other. Some things are clearly not really part of Effie's experiences and every now and then the mum critiques Effie's story telling and Effie changes the way the story is told.
Nora is sparse with her story and she only tells about a paragraph on average at the time. She is reluctant to tell it at all and warns Effie that no good can come of it. In the end though it is the mother's story that makes the book. It ties it together so beautifully and cleverly that I am willing to forgive the author for the lack of "leadership" throughout the book (leaving the reader wondering what on earth the book is about). If one can just be patient and enjoy the present in the book the language is also filled with life and there are some great comments-
There are parts that I wonder if they aren't straight out of Kate Atkinson's own experiences as a writer as Effie is a literature student and attends a class in creative writing. She has several friends that also attend this class. And it seems to me that this book is born right out of the idea of creative writing and improvisation. The thing I find most annoying about the book is how I also get to read some parts of the stories Effie and her friends write as assignment from their teachers. I found those parts quite uninteresting.
Otherwise a really intelligent book by an author who seems willing to play with her readers and see what she can get away with. My suggestion is to try it - at least the first 110 pages....Continua