Friday, June 25, 2010

'We Are All Made of Glue'- Review



418 pages

Opening Line:
'The first time I met Wonder Boy, he pissed on me.'


Georgie Sinclair's life is in turmoil. Her husband has walked out due to an argument over a toothbrush holder, her daughter is away at uni and her teenage son Ben has developed an unhealthy interest, researching websites on the coming of the apocalypse, on the Internet. Also, Georgie has a deadline due, editing for an online magazine called 'Adhesives in the Modern World' but she chooses to spend most of time, writing her trashy novel 'The Splattered Heart.'

Then, Georgie meets Mrs Shapiro, an elderly lady with eccentric dress, a filthy house and a multitude of cats, at the supermarket jostling for bargains. When Mrs Shapiro is admitted into hospital, Georgie is named as her next of kin and is lead into ensuring that Mrs Shapiro's house isn't taken from her by the Social Services. Along the way, Georgie embarks on a journey to discover what breaks and bonds society, religion, community and family.

Unlike her previous successful and (in my opinion) slightly overrated novel 'A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian', 'We Are All Made of Glue' is better written and is extremely funny. Marina Lewycka is able to sensitively bring in a political element within the humour, to highlight the on going struggles in the Middle East and show how, since wartime, this has affected so many innocent people. This makes for heart wrenching reading.

The plot of 'We Are All Made of Glue' isn't a million miles away from 'A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian'; (chaos breaks out within a normal family, usually due to the escapades of an elderly person and it's up to a younger person, usually a woman, to rectify the situation) however in this novel, Lewycka has created better character structure and I thought that the characters were more believable. I particularly liked Mrs Shapiro, because she is feisty and eccentric.

The plot is well paced and engaging, however I would say, that even though I like books with several strands running through them (Kate Atkinson is particularly good at this), I found that maybe this novel had just a bit too much going on in it. The strands within the novel did all fit together, but for me, it just felt a little cluttered.

I'm also not too keen at the ending. It all felt a bit too cheesy and .....nice. It was a bit like the ending of the TV series 'Lost', but I won't say any more, in the risk of giving out any unnecessary spoilers!. However both endings served their purpose and I suppose in that sense, the ending of 'We all made of Glue', is ok.

Overall, I found 'We are All Made of Glue' entertaining, heartwarming and fun to read. I definitely recommend giving this novel a try.

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  1. Sounds good. I read the Unkranian Tractors book the summer that everyone in London seemed to be reading it and whilst I enjoyed it - it was a bit of a one dimensional enjoyment if you know what I mean - i didn't feel that it quite deserved all the praise that it received.

    thanks for sharing your review of this book and bon weekend!


  2. Hmm, this sounds pretty interesting! Bummer about the ending, but I may just give this a try. I've never heard of the author before either. Thanks!

  3. Hannah, I too felt the same about 'Tractors in Ukrainian' the characters were very one dimensional and I couldn't really get into the novel, because of that. However, the characters in 'We are all made of glue' are much more fleshed out in my opinion, that's why I'd recommend reading this novel.

    Steph, don't let the ending put you off, this novel is definitely worth reading.