Saturday, 18 February 2012

Bookworm: A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

At the moment I’m about a third of the way through my latest read and so far it’s one of those ones I’m undecided on. It’s not exactly won me over just yet. Reading this has made me think of another book I decided to read this year and was a lot different to what I expected too.

This book was A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. I picked this as I actually thought the novel sounded similar to some other items I’ve read in the past which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Getting hold of A Week in December was actually quite a funny tale as I somehow managed to see the book a long while ago and then picture a rather mangled up version of its title in my head. I knew the cover had people on a bridge in London on it and that it was something like 'A month in November' or something similar.. I tried for ages to find this book online or see if I could get it on my Kindle (I stupidly hadn't made note of the author) and was starting to think I'd imagined the whole thing. That is until I had a conversation with my boyfriend and we came to the conclusion the book was by Sebastian Faulks (something he knew through being a West Ham fan, like the author himself). Laughing at myself I told a friend at work about what had happened and she explained her boyfriend actually had the book and I could borrow it, warning me he'd got partway through and having got fed up had stopped reading it.

So I borrowed the book. Now, I have a bit of an issue with things like this - bad books. If I start a book and find I don't really like it I struggle my way through it until I reach the end. I'm always convinced if I just keep at it I will end up finding I enjoyed it. Often this tends to work and I feel glad I stuck with the book, in fact I can only remember one book ever where I never bothered to finish it and did just give up. I soon found on reading A Week in December that it was going to be a bit of a struggle and a slow burner. The problem is the book is all about a number of characters and their lives and how they end up intertwined with one another. Sounds clever and interesting right? I read a book a few years back about commuters on a train which crashes and how their lives get joined together. I can't for the life of me remember what it was now! Please, if anyone knows please put me out my misery and tell me!

Anyway back to Sebastian Faulks, the problem is there are too many characters and as a reader I found I got bored, there was too much build up. However, I stuck with it and carried on reading, and reading and reading...The end results was this, about three quarters in the book seemed to pick up and be going somewhere and I found myself enjoying it.

However, then I continued and unfortunately I ended up reaching the end of the book disappointed and feeling let down, I felt for a story which built up its characters so slowly it ended the tale in a rather rushed manner.

Good bits
Interesting takes on different cultures and characters in life
Some strong and clever points made, such as the reality show references
Some twists stopped some characters from becoming a dangerous stereotype

Not so good
Build up of characters too long
Too many characters
Characters don't connect enough
Ending is rushed

Please, feel free to give the book a go yourselves and let me know what you felt. Perhaps I was influenced by other's opinions when I started reading? Let me know.


  1. Our book group just read 'How to be a woman' by Caitlin Moran, I gave this one up half way through, I thought her writing style was poor and her whole point seemed to me to be wanting to be 'loud'. Other people in the group finished it. One said it was good, another said she found some good bits, others didn't enjoy it..... quite a controversial one! Maybe add it to your reading list???? I think I'm going to give the book above a miss - I need to unwind with a book not tax my little brain working out who's who!
    Keep these coming, very useful!
    Emma S

  2. Ooh thanks Emma, I will have a look into that one.

    Thanks, I hope you like the latest one on Aimee Bender's book?

  3. Mum said to tell yu that she has been trying to read this for 18 months and is only half way through - she is determined to read on to the end regardless but she totally agrees with you .... too many characters, too much like hard work.