Monday, 25 April 2011

Alison Wonderland (paperback, ebook) Helen Smith

Alison Wonderland, all puns intended 5*
This book works as a light, fun read but is also thought-provoking, contains astute social comment and is at times brightly satirical. Woven into the tale are finely observed character studies, together with strands of whimsical, laugh-out-loud and very earthy humour. As the personal observations and reflections accumulate, you feel as though you come to know Alison very well.
 
Using the scenario of a detective's investigations is a clever way of looking at the world to make insightful (quirky) observations on the human condition. You will be treated to a delightful study of British eccentricity, with a darkly sinister undercurrent of corporate dirty tricks and curious fantasy. And there are revelations of quite astonishing honesty.

The characters inhabiting Alison's world are all memorable for their foibles: Mrs Fitzgerald (the detective agency owner), Creepy Clive (Mrs Fitzgerald's brother), Jeff the enigmatic neighbour, Bird, Flower and Taron. Trips out with Taron usually involve great hilarity - watch out for the Tooting Bec Lido afternoon and the night out in a Weymouth club.

There are some delightful little graphic illustrations. These make the reader feel the novel was put together with care and a genuine interest in the reading experience. As soon as I reached the last page, I went straight off and ordered Helen's second novel `Being Light'.

What sort of book is this? The kind where, when you have no choice but to put it down to take a coffee break, answer the door or put the lunch on, that's when you catch yourself smiling.

Amazon UK Alison Wonderland 
Amazon US Alison Wonderland 

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