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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 17 star ratings
2 reviews
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Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
17
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    Amazing

    I found this book emotional and addictive. I could not put it down and cried and laughed all the way through.
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    The Bug

    I really wasn't sure about this book initially as it does take quite a long time to get going and Polly's voice is initially whiny and irritating; put simply she seems to enjoy playing the victim. When her phone rings at 2:15am she initially worries that it is her stalker and as there is, as yet, no law against Peter's actions and nobody seems to take his behaviour as being a threat to her there is every chance it will be. Cowering in her bed she listens as the answering machine picks up and it is worse than she could have thought - sixteen years and two months ago she had an ill-fated love affair and now Jack is very definitely back. Much of the book is set in flashback and deals with the Greenham Common protest camp that sprang up around the storage of Cruise Missiles at the base. By setting Polly and Jack on opposite sides of the camp fence Mr Elton gets to provide us with a nice chunk of political satire. Despite these very politics forming part of his act at the time of Greenham Common he manages to give a balanced view of both the protestor's take on the situation and that of an American career military man - the fact he is American is important. It also covers feminism, liberalism and the changing attitudes of society within the 16 years that form the setting of this book. Whilst being undoubtedly political in nature there is enough humour to dilute some of the more tub-thumping sections. Strangely it is Jack's arguments that carried more weight with me and I found Polly to be rather woolly in her cognitive processes and whilst this was mainly endearing when she was 17, now she is in her thirties it just made me want to slap her. There are nice little side steps covering the rash of sexual harassment complaints levelled against members of the American Armed Forces and their President (Nibs made me laugh quite a bit) and Jack's explanation for them (boys will be boys) whilst feeble was relevant to how many people viewed them at the time. Alongside the political activism there is the story of Polly's modern day stalker, Peter. He is clearly a very disturbed man and whilst only accidentally coming in to Polly's orbit he is genuinely obsessed with her. He is also far more dangerous than anyone knows. The various strands weave together well and the time and narrator shifts blend seamlessly together. Altogether an accomplished bit of writing that thoroughly entertains and gives a good waft of nostalgia for those readers old enough to remember this turbulent time.
17

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