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The Accidental - First Impressions


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megustaleer 25th April 2006 08:40 PM

In the first 75+ pages the reader experiences being in the head of a pre-pubescent girl, a tormented adolescent boy, and a predatory middle aged man. I found none of these habitats comfortable.

This book seems to me to have been written with an eye on all the literary awards going, as the reader has to do all the work to make a comprehensible story out of the disjointed clips (to borrow the camera metaphor) of narrative.

Hazel 26th April 2006 08:53 AM

Originally Posted by megustaleer
In the first 75+ pages the reader experiences being in the head of a pre-pubescent girl, a tormented adolescent boy, and a predatory middle aged man. I found none of these habitats comfortable.

This book seems to me to have been written with an eye on all the literary awards going, as the reader has to do all the work to make a comprehensible story out of the disjointed clips (to borrow the camera metaphor) of narrative.

I completely agree Meg. I am finding it hard to get into and not exactly picking it up each evening with a light heart. If it wasn't for BGO I would probably given up at my standard 100 pages mark. Hoping things will change.

Mungus 26th April 2006 04:05 PM

I read the book in December last year and my overall memory of it is that it was hard work and tried very hard to be meaningful. I liked the voice of the daughter though and ultimately found her to be the most sympathetic of the characters.

Hazel 30th April 2006 10:40 AM

I finished it last night and am looking forward to discussing it. But, I have to confess I didn't really enjoy it. There were brief flashes of good writing and engaging plot lines, but they were drowned in moments of 'trying to be clever' written diarrohea.

I had my doubts whether anything had seriously changed by Amber's prescence in the family, and that made me question the whole point of the book. It just seemed like such a pointless book which didn't tell us anything about this family.

Momo 30th April 2006 11:12 AM

I have only just started reading "The Accidental" by Ali Smith (still in the middle of the fantastic novel "The Falls" by Joyce Carol Oates - but I want to join in the discussions here, so I read them both at the same time). I find it quite difficult to get into, so far, there seems to be no connection between the characters, no flow in the story. I have to go back often to see what I missed before only to find out that I didn't miss it, there just seems to be no connection. Well, we'll see how it goes.

Starry 1st May 2006 08:28 AM

I've just finished this book and like everyone here I can't say I enjoyed it. I really don't like the stream of consciousness style, there are no speech marks which really gets up my nose and I disliked all of the characters, though perhaps Eve was the one I disliked least :)

I must admit this is not the sort of book I would have normally picked up, I only read it because I had pledged to myself that I would read this month's pick.

I agree Hazel, I don't think anything changed because of Amber's presence. They were just as disjointed and disfunctional as a family after as they were before.

Hazel 1st May 2006 10:27 AM

Originally Posted by Starry
I really don't like the stream of consciousness style

Usually I do like it especially when it is done really well and integral to the novel, but this just seemed like it for it's own sake and really didn't add anything to my appreciation of the characters. I will give Smith one point though - it made it a little fun to get into Magnus' head - but not for long.

katrina 2nd May 2006 06:22 PM

I'm not really getting very far with this book at the moment, its definately lacking inspiration, and leaving it at home by mistake when I was away for the weekend really diidn't help things. I will try to pick it up and get started on it again today and hopefully have it done by the weekend

donnae 4th May 2006 02:18 PM

I am about 70ish pages into this...have taken an instant dislike to Michael - what an unpleasant man.

I am quite enjoying this, I want to understand more about everyone, especially Eve because so far I have read very little about her.

Like you Momo, I have had to re-read a couple of times just to make sure I haven't turned two pages over instead of one.

Momo 4th May 2006 07:23 PM

Originally Posted by donnae
I am about 70ish pages into this...have taken an instant dislike to Michael - what an unpleasant man.

You're doing much better than me there. At page 70, I didn't even get who was who. :rolleyes:

katrina 5th May 2006 10:10 PM

I've finished it!!! Gosh that was a mighty strange book there were points which I actually hated, and parts which I thought were alright, never got overly excited though. I really hated the way the type hadn't been aligned so the writing looked all rough.

Came out of it wondering what the point was really, and there was far to many contemporary references for me, none of these would make sense in another country or in ten years time.

Momo 6th May 2006 12:58 PM

Originally Posted by katrina
Came out of it wondering what the point was really, and there was far to many contemporary references for me, none of these would make sense in another country or in ten years time.

Right. At one point I thought, am I reading a novel or is this a movie theatre flyer.

katrina 6th May 2006 01:39 PM

I agree there where some definate chapters that i issues with, I even got out a pad and made notes with lots of underlining about things I was angry with in this book, in some places she seemed to try far too hard.

Flingo 23rd May 2006 10:32 PM

I've fallen asleep twice today trying to read it!

Got to page 36, so looking forward to the next time I have insomnia!

I agree about the writing style - even just reading the bits so far "by" the 12 year old girl - I want to strangle her for the use of i.e. in completely inappropriate places.

Something has definitely i.e. begun.

Momo 23rd May 2006 10:54 PM

I think that was mainly stating that some people, especially teenagers, love to use a certain word (or abbreviation in this case) and apply it everywhere, even when it doesn't apply.
Not that I have any inclination in thinking that's so great that it makes the book more readable.


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megustaleer 24th May 2006, 09:51 AM

Originally Posted by Flingo

I agree about the writing style - even just reading the bits so far "by" the 12 year old girl - I want to strangle her for the use of i.e. in completely inappropriate places.

You'd better try some relaxation techniques, or your blood pressure will be through the roof by the time you get to the end, as this is a fairly persistant habit!!


(It does seem to be a typical teenage mannerism, one of my sons used to pepper his speech with 'basically')

Adrian 19th July 2006, 11:39 PM

I didn't get too far into this before it had to go back to the library. I thought it started off OK but obviously it didn't grip me enough and I postponed it to read other books.


Might try it again if I see it on the shelves.


tagesmann 2nd October 2006, 02:37 PM


I've only just read this book and I would like to add impressions.


I read "the beginning" and was hooked. I want to know what happens to the characters and how they will develop and resolve their "issues". A great start which encourages the reader on...

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  • 3 months later...

I really didn't like this book at all. I found it frustrating and quite annoying - sorry to any fans of the book! I would have liked to have known more about who Amber actually was, and perhaps see how the situations within the family resolved themselves a little more. The writing style irritated me too. I'm amazed I finished it!

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