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The quote from Roddy Doyle on the front cover of my copy is not misleading. "Hugely entertaining and very, very funny." That does sum up this book, but also leaves out much.

Meet the Laments: the wilful, beguiling family who will lead you from 1950s Rhodesia to the Persian Gulf, England and 1970s New Jersey on their relentless search for the perfect place to settle. Howard is an engineer and dreamer, his wife Julia a fiery-spirited artist. Both are determined to shake off their colonial heritage and find a better society in which to raise their children: the anarchic twins, Julius and Marcus, and their older brother Will, who was secretly adopted as a baby. As will grows up, he struggles to find his place in the family, yet when their constant uprootings and successive mishaps begin to pull the Laments apart, it is Will who strives to hold them together.

The above bumph outlines the story, but gives little away, from the outset the reader is aware that Will is adopted, but Will is kept in the dark for much of the story. Julia's mother is aware that something is being kept from her, but she has no idea what exactly. There are many places where this book made me laugh, and some made me wince, as Julia tries to bring up her boys without them getting into too many scrapes. As a mother it is easy to identify with Julia's reaction to the antics of her sons. Towards the end of the story the author depicts Howard as a man struggling with his own self worth in the face of being unemployed, and Julia becoming the breadwinner for the family. The story is very well told.
For information about the author, click here.


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