Thursday, April 12, 2007

Poppy Shakespeare MicroReview: It Aint Half Annoying

Finished Clare Allan's Poppy Shakespeare. It annoyed me, but the story and themes have stayed with me for a few days and provoked some thought.

It's about the treatment of the mentally ill, questioning what constitutes mental illness, with lots of big blobs illustrating the nature vs nurture debate. It has been compared to Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest but it's not as subtle.

However, it annoyed me because it is written phonetically/colloquially, as if spoken by a common or garden Londoner. As someone who is at heart a true Estuary girl, I find the depiction of London accents intensely annoying even when pretty consistently and accurately deployed. I'm sure Dickens managed without it.

That said, it is really interesting and does feel authentic, but stimulates the reader in a short sharp shock way with a simple plotline and accompanying twist that means it's not worth spelling out anymore for fear of ruining the literary money shot.

Consider it ECT and you won't be too disappointed.

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