Originally Posted by paola
Yes, sure, in the end Jason's parents divorce and it is going to be tough, but we knew this all along from the very first nuisance call, and divorce comes after Helena has found a fulfilling job and Michael has lost his job (that'll teach him!), so all lose ends are tied, in a way.
Hah! That aspect infuriated me and caused me to downgrade my mental rating. Especially that the mother went from being a woman obsessed with forcing sprouts on her kids at lunchtime to a well-connected powerhouse in marketing and management in nothing flat, which is a trope both tired and incredible. It served the purposes of showing that a life can be reinvented (see, Jason?) and having the practical effect that just as Jason achieves his victory he's going to be rudely transplanted and will have to do it all again. Something more open-ended and not as neat would have served the story far better. OTOH, I didn't mind that the father lost his job; it seemed fair enough for a man of his age in early-80s Thatcher England. I think that was the more interesting parallel--Jason's and his father's concurrent impotence and despair.
I said upthread that I didn't mind the jumble of voices; the shifting of memory and reportage worked for me. I very much liked the social interactions, adolescents really are animals, and also the Falklands backdrop.
Bits just broke my heart, as an example, Jason's loving recollection of having been a Spook for all of five minutes. Those moments of truth, in whosever voice, was the best aspect of the book or me.
I'm older than Jason and never was a boy, so I do have a question for the men: Were 13 year-old boys really so innocent in the early 80s? Were you at 13? (no one need reveal his age
) I know I was clueless when I was 13, but the kids now frankly scare me.