Mr Peanut by Adam Ross
|Mr Peanut by Adam Ross|
|Genre: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: This modern, contemporary novel centres around three couples in New York. It's all about marriage in its various guises: the good times, the bad times, the I-wish-I'd-never-married-you times are all packaged up in this debut novel.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 352||Date: June 2010|
|Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd|
The main couple who tend to take centre stage here are called David and Alice Pepin. They live a kind of comfortable, middle-class life in busy and bustling Manhattan. After more than a decade of generally happy married life together, they want to take the next step and have a family. Easy to say but things don't quite work out according to plan. We are taken on various 'dark' journeys within their marriage. These are situations which most of us can identify with. Some of these situations are painful, stressful, unhappy.
David is a creative type. He sneaks away from his adored and adoring wife to find a quiet corner. He's attempting to write a book of fiction. He seems to have writers' block. Why? This is just one example of a 'secret' which David hides from Alice. It's as if he want to retain a piece of himself, for himself. And then totally out of the blue, his wife is found dead. In the apartment. Is he guilty? Can't be surely. Everyone knew that they were a devoted couple. And once again Ross takes the opportunity to plunge the reader into the Pepin's past. No stone left unturned basically. And while I was interested in all of this, I wasn't biting my nails to find out what happened next. Perhaps because Ross's tone and style, for me, was a little rambling. Dare I say it, a little lack-lustre in places.
The investigating detectives have their own set of troubles to bear. Marital troubles. Seems a bit of a coincidence, but there you go. The husband/detective who discovered Alice has his very own wife troubles. She's taken to her bed - for quite some time. And why would someone perfectly healthy choose to put themselves through this? Day after day. Relying on the goodwill of her husband. I found his character to be very weak and rather unconvincing.
The quirky title of the book Mr Peanut makes an appearance here and there. And there is also an explanation. An interesting take. I did come to appreciate some of the workings of Alice's mind. Her past had really caught up with her. She's a woman in turmoil. There are various unaddressed issues here. And of course, she chooses not to confide in her husband/soulmate. And again the question 'why'? Ross gives the reader a flavour of the psyche, if you like, of these marriages. It's really all about the no one knows what goes on behind closed doors syndrome. I just couldn't take to Ross's style of writing, I'm afraid.
I suppose you could argue that if any marriage is put under the microscope, then something is bound to turn up, isn't it? Whether it be good or bad. I simply felt that after reading the book, I was really none the wiser. It didn't engage me. Overall, a rather disappointingly, flat book despite the quirky title and zany front cover.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this type of book appeals then we can recommend Tony and Susan by Austin Wright
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