Sunday, 22 February 2015

Book Review - Big Brother by Lionel Shriver

Big BrotherBig Brother by Lionel Shriver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, this book led me down the garden path nicely. I was so surprised at the turn this book took after the first half and, beguiled by Lionel Shriver's beautiful language, I followed it merrily along growing more and more frustrated that it just didn't seem like a Lionel Shriver tale AT ALL. Thankfully, I then careered headlong into the relief and satisfaction of a wonderful ending.

Big Brother tells the deceptively simple tale of a sibling relationship that's strained in more ways than one when Pandora's much admired older brother Edison falls down on his luck and moves in for an extended visit.

Years having passed since she last laid eyes on him, Pandora is taken aback to discover her brother has grown far wider than he's grown wiser.

Bored with her successful business venture, and constantly irked by her husband's overzealous health kick, Pandora mounts a challenge to her brother. She'll devote her full attention to him, including moving out of her family home, as long as he follows her exact instructions to lose the weight he's gained. All 223 pounds of it.

This is a sometimes uncomfortable read as Lionel Shriver confronts head-on the taboo that society has constructed around its overweight citizens. No one gathering the courage to confront an overweight person directly, while at the same time feeling the right to comment and pass judgement behind his back, all in the guise of concern about health.

Delightful, ambitious, and a completely fulfilling read. My favourite book so far this year.

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