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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.5 out of 5
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  • Community Life

    This is a lovely gentle book about the residents and visitors to the area near Victoria Park. Starting with long time resident Wolfie, who ran the local deli, and his wife Mona who is struggling with dementia each chapter features one main character and an event that happened to them that month. It does a very good job of intertwining the characters with careful references to others in each chapter so their stories continue at a remote level. This was a very easy read, easy to follow and despite the variety of characters easy to keep track of them all. The neighbourhood is well described and it covers a real variety of characters, it even opens up a little as to how the neighbourhood used to be through Mona’s eyes. The format was interesting moving month by month but with different characters although ultimately going full circle with Wolfie and Mona. I would have liked to hear a little more about other characters in the final chapter however as the book shows life changes month by month and this is a story that carries on long after the last page.

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  • Very cleverly written....

    “Victoria Park” by Gemma Reeves is a very cleverly written novel with a unique concept, focusing on twelve residents stories, each one reading like they are an individual novella. The twelve chapters, which are set out in the months of a year, connect all the characters who reside around Victoria Park in London. The book opens with Mona and Wolfe, who have lived on the park for over fifty years. It’s the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary and Mona’s Alzheimer’s is steadily getting worse. By the end of the book, we return to Mona and her declining health and I thought it a fitting ending to a collection of intertwining tales of diverse and very much real life people. The author has captured a fantastic insight into contemporary urban life and emotional experiences that define our personalities. This is certainly a no holes barred, non sugar coated view of life, portraying definitely that we are not all alike. The realisation of alienation and connection between residents in a disparate and culturally diverse area, was spot on and if your reading genre is the study of characters and their feelings and emotions to various life themes, you’ll fully appreciate this book and it’s portrayal of a London park life community. 3 stars

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