Presenting... the Fabulous O'Learys
By Caron Freeborn
Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, see the freaks in their natural habitat. Only cost you your bloody soul.Tweet
My book group has been reading this book Sadly we didn't receive copies till last week, thus only four of us have finished it in time for publication day.The rest of the group thought the characters with their idiosyncrasies, were original whereas I was less convinced of their credibility. We all found the first couple of chapters hard to read, who was who and what was what was difficult to figure out.
I loved this breezy, entertaining story about a family of lovable, funny oddbods and their friends. Every character seems to have something special about them: Delia and her eating disorder and probably aspergers, Tom and his tourettes, there's a midget and an institutionalised uncle and quite a few more. We meet the family at the point where Daddy, a (quite) famous actor who is supporting everyone else financially, announces his retirement. They all then have to find ways to adapt to the new situation. Each of the characters gets chapters of their own with their voice narrating so we get to know all of them and their differences quite well but without once being patronised. We're never told what is special about each person, it just becomes apparent as we get to know them. The characters are sensitively written and the story unfolds with humour and sometimes hilarity. I was afraid it could become either 'heavy' or ridiculous but neither happens. The story is told with a lovely light touch that stays somehow believable throughout. It's a very entertaining read and we've been sent a reading group set which will be given out in a couple of weeks (I couldn't resist a sneaky preview). I can't wait until everyone else has read it and we get to discuss it because so many things come out of it about difference, about difficulties, about families and relationships. It seems like an ideal reading group book but I recommend it to anyone, part of a group or not