Friday, October 21, 2011

The Radleys: A Novel by Matt Haig

About book:

Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys.  Many of us grew up next door to one.  They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town.  Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative.  Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan.  They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception:  Peter and Helen are vampires and have - for seventeen years -  been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking - and disturbingly satisfying - act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies.  A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unkown to the general public.  And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara's trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radley's marriage.

My thoughts:

Another one bites the dust.  Yes, I have now read two books for RIP VI Challenge, which means I have completed the challenge (I chose to enter at the Peril the Second level).  YAY!  Anyhow, on to the book.

The Radleys are a family of four living a quiet life in small town in England.  Peter (dad) is a doctor and Helen (mom) is a housewife. Their two teenaged children are, Rowan, who gets bullied at school, and Clara, a recent vegan who has befriended the new girl.  Everything is humming along nicely, until one evening when  Helen gets a disturbing phone call from her daughter Clara.  Turns out Clara just ate her date.  She was saying 'no', but he wasn't listening and something deep within woke up and the next thing you know there is blood everywhere.  Of course, Clara's drunk most of it.  You see, the Radleys are vampires.  Except, Clara and Rowan weren't supposed to find out, because their parents had been taking great pains to avoid that lifestyle and figured they could teach their children to suppress that part of themselves.  Well, the bat's out of the bag and the kids want answers.

Suffice it to say, drama does unfold as a result of Clara's incident.  Old family members come to visit and vampire society's are discussed.  Marital discord rings loudly between Peter and Helen.  Unquenchable thirst becomes a problem for some and well, things get a bit out of hand.  Plus, some secrets are revealed and they leave a bitter taste in your mouth.  All in all, a really good read. Haig's writing was great and his ideas for the story lines were a treat to read.  I enjoyed all of the characters, even the annoying next door neighbors. This was definitely a perfect choice for RIP VI - had vampires in it and wasn't too scary to get through (this is essential for me, because lately I've been a scaredy cat when it comes to horror films and books).  Crikey, that's sad. Oh well. I'm off to read something else.


Aarti said...

I admit when I came to this review, I thought it was going to be a retelling of To Kill a Mockingbird, from Boo Radley's point of view. WOW, was I off :-) Sounds like you enjoyed this one, which is great- and you're right, it does sound perfect for RIP!

Nadia said...

Aarti, I know! When I first heard of this book (well, only the name), I thought it was about Boo Radley, too :) Talk about being wrong. Anyhow, turned out to be a good read. Definitely a great pick for RIP! Thanks for stopping by :)

Dot said...

I've read so many positive reviews of this book, think I shall have to try it!

Nadia said...

Dot, try it! YOu will enjoy it! Its not spooky or gory - just a good read :)

Bellezza said...

I get easily scared too, which is part of the thrill/horror of reading in this genre. Glad you finished two for the RIP VI! I read way more than I thought I would, but only because I started in September before my teaching became insane with conferences/report cards/meetings/grading and oh yeah, Halloween! ;)

So glad you have 1Q84 and are taking your time with it, once you begin, as am I. We'll be sure to have a grand discussion when we finish, but there's no rush. Just simple enjoyment of each and every word.

Good to hear from you, Nadia, and thanks for visiting me. Sorry I've been scarce.

bermudaonion said...

This is probably as scary as I could stand too. The book actually sounds like fun!