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Welcome to the book blog of writer Diane Paul. Have a browse, leave a message, become a follower, post to twitter or facebook...write a guest blog...just enjoy.

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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Dark tale from Joanne Harris

blueeyedboy



Gloria Winter (nee Green) lives in the Yorkshire village of Malbry. Once married to a friend of her father's who ran a fish and chip shop, Gloria meets Peter Winter at a Christmas party. He's the local car dealer with a BMW and a bit of flash and he becomes her second husband until the car dealership goes and Peter goes with it. To care for her three sons, Nigel, Brendan and Ben Gloria takes in mending and ironing and becomes a cleaner.

Black, Brown and Blue are the names of her children because of the colours in which Gloria dresses them. Black for Nigel, the eldest, 'moody and aggressive'. Nigel is killed in a car crash. Brown, for Brendan, 'timid and dull' and Blue for the youngest, most doted on son Ben. Ben is a murderer.

This is a dark book for one such as Joanne Harris and although it's beautifully written and the words flow onto the pages at a rivetting pace, it left me with more questions than answers. I usually discard books I can't get into but I read blueeyedboy to the end because of the author's ability with language. It was the plot that confused, twisted and turned until I had no idea what was going on. It had no discernible structure and read as though it hadn't been plotted first. 

blueeyedboy is a nickname for the man who writes about his mother's love for him over his two brothers and his hatred of her. Halfway through, having been led to believe Ben is the author of the webjournal badguysrock@webjournal.com and whose creepy postings  steadily reveal a tale of hatred, revenge and child abuse, murder even, the roles are switched and it appears to be Brendan, not dead after all, who is the blue eyed boy doing the writing. Is it fiction -- fic as the author BB calls it in his web journal -- or is Ben/Brendan revealing a true life situation? And it is Ben who is dead. Whoever it is, he's 42 and still living with mama. And this is his social life.

Ben has synaesthesia. He sees things as colours and smells words. He was half of a set of twins and claims to have eaten his brother in utero. I know. It was hard to root for him, or any of them for that matter and I didn't really care what happened to them. Once Brendan becomes the blue eyed boy, the synaesthesia goes too and I found him even less interesting. Nigel's girlfriend, Albertine and her neighbour Emily, or is that Beth, plays a key part in the fabrication of this complex story.



So, come back Vianne Rocher with some chocolate truffles. BEB wasn't to my taste.

Blueeyedboy is published by Black Swan and you can log onto Joanne Harris's website at http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

2 comments:

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

I obtained a copy of this recently and look forward to reading it soon. I have always in the past enjoyed the diversity of Joanne Harris as an author so it will be interesting to see if I find it too different.

diane said...

I will be interested to hear your opinion, Lindylou. JH began with darker stories but made her name with the lighter books and now it looks like she's returning to her original genre. She is diverse and the quality of her prose is strong but this was a complex plot to follow.