Book Six

January is woman’s month!

I don’t think I have ever consciously read a book because it was written by a women and so this month is Woman’s month! It is greatly pleasing the feminist within me. I have decided that every other month I will set a theme in an attempt to expand the kind of books that I read. So anyway onto book number six.

I have been looking forward to reading this book for some time. It was one of those books that sprung up everywhere in 2016. I went into this book not really knowing what it was about. I have also never read anything by Zadie Smith so this book really was a first for me. I had high hopes for this book and in someways it followed through on those hopes. Unfortunately it was sometimes a little boring. The book tells the story of our narrator and her childhood friend Tracy. Both girls dream of being dancers. Unfortunately only one has the talent to pursue this. This book follows the narrator from the age of 7 until her early 30s. The author manages to take the reader across the years with ease and at no point was I confused as to what era of the narrators life we were in. This really is a testament to Zadie Smith’s writing, especially when you consider the fact that throughout the book the story jumps from between modern day and the past continuously throughout the book.

Although the writing was fantastic the story was just alright. Some parts were fantastic. When I first started listening to this book I thought that I was going to be hooked however this feeling quickly disappeared. The story veers away from the central themes and this can just be frustrating. The author also starts certain themes and then just sorts of forgets about them. I found this frustrating however I am not completely convinced that this isn’t some kind of comment on life itself. Things start, they don’t always come to a satiating end. You just need to deal with it. If this is the case then it is purely executed and it just made me feel sort of disjointed. I often found myself drifting off when listening to this book, which is never good, but then again I never seemed to miss anything that was important so the story clearly wasn’t moving along that quickly. The characters in this book are fantastic. Their relationships with one another are totally believable and on occasions very tragic. I drew similarity throughout the story between myself and the various childhood friends that I had growing up. Tracy and the narrators friendship is timeless.

This book explores lots and lots of different themes. Gender, race and class are probably the 3 biggest themes but in no way are they all the themes this book explores. Although I read this book this month mainly because it is written by a women this book showed me a life experience quite removed from my own. I am a white, middle class woman who grew up on the west coast of Scotland. The narrator of this story is a black, working class woman who grew up in the East End of London. This book made it startlingly clear to me that I defiantly have not read enough books written by BME writers, more to follow on this in March.

I listened to the audio book of Swing Time and I have to say Pippa Bennett-Warner’s reading of this book was fantastic. I cant fault it. In general I enjoyed this book, I don’t think I will read this particular book again but I defiantly will read some more Zadie Smith.

Happy Reading!

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