Number of pages: 255
Read between: 28th December- 11th January 2016
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Synopsis: James has fallen through life, plotting a course of least resistance, taking each day as it comes and waiting for that indefinable something to turn up, to give his story meaning. His journey lacks on vital element, a fellow traveller. Then he meets Lainey. Confident. Beautiful. Captivating. And James rewrites himself to win her heart. Lainey gives James a reason to grow, paints a bright future, promises the happy ending he has sought so keenly. But when we discover we can live the greatest story of all, are we able to share the pages with someone else? Being Someone is an emotive tale of love, of self-discovery and adventure a story of the eternal search for happiness in another, without ultimately losing ourselves.
2016 Reading Challenge: A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with (India)
I got this book from Lizzy as a give-away prize, so I was really interested to get around to reading it.
Being Someone is first and foremost a book about journeys, both literally, through travel, but also as a demonstration of the journey of relationships, and the fatality that undoubtedly,will eventually come with it.
The book opens with the story of Iravatha and Annayya, an elephant and his beloved mahout, and their relationship as Annayya rears his elephant from a calf, until unfortunatley, he meets a tragic end, leaving Iravatha to be burdened with grief. At first I didn’t understand what the story of the two of them at first, but it became clear to me as a reader that there was a slight element of foreshadowing. James, the main character, ends up with a burden of a broken relationship. The non-linear way that the story of Iravatha and Annayya was filtered throughout the story, related to other elements of the story.
I actually really liked this book. Firstly, the contrast between India and London not only proved how different the cultures are, and what a perfect getaway India was, but also provided insight into a culture I was unfamiliar with, now I feel I know it better, especially the importance of elephants, something I hadn’t really considered. Secondly, I really enjoyed the male perspective. It was a welcome change in terms of the emotions the character was broadcasting through the narration- although James gets heart broken, rather than become a mess, he decided to travel to places that once made him happy (although he becomes a chain smoker in the process- but no snotty crying!)
The writing style is really easy to read too, I admit, it did take me a while to get into but then I didn’t want to put it down! I really wanted to follow James and Lainey, his beautiful American wife, throughout their relationship. They really seemed to click and it was written so well, I really believed I was glimpsing a snapshot of a real relationship. I think this is why I became so angry at James when he did what he did, Lainey didn’t deserve his actions, and from then on my view changes of him- he seemed intelligent and caring to start off with, and then he became self-absorbed nearer the end. In my opinion anyway.
At the end of the novel, the narrative voice changes to Lainey’s. I liked this touch. We get to know her feelings on the situation, she isn’t just a character in James’s background anymore, she’s a person. I was pleased she never let what happened get to her- James cheated on her, she divorced him, but it didn’t mean her life was over. I have a feeling if Lainey had been written by a female writer, in a contemporary novel, the outcome might have been a little different. I like that she remained strong, like she didn’t need her friends comfort to get over James, she did it all on her own.
Genuinely surprised how much I enjoyed a novel that I wouldn’t normally choose to read myself. So, thank you Lizzy for letting me enjoy it as much as you did!
I can’t wait to see what Adrian Harvey writes next.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the review.
Let me know if you’ve read this book, or anything similar, or might consider reading it.