All Bones and Lies

All Bones and Lies

2.95 (42 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 158 x 240 x 20mm | 354g
  • ISIS Publishing
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New ed of Large print ed
  • 0753165279
  • 9780753165270

Review Text

From one perspective, Colin Riley is one of life's losers: a man who in middle-age is unmarried and childless, has a stressful job as an environmental health officer, and who devotes his spare time to looking after his cantankerous and ungrateful elderly mother. From another perspective, he is simply a kind and thoughtful man who, because he believes in doing the right thing, spends far too much time having his good nature abused by others. Colin's life is so lacking in excitement that most of his pleasures are imaginary. One such pastime is inventing television programmes that would rectify some of life's injustices, like the annual Eurovision Frost-Top Contest, in which old people who can't prove their worth are culled. It's both simple and moral, thinks Colin. 'Standards in the over-seventies would shoot sky high. Entire personalities would change for the better overnight, or pay for it drastically.' Anne Fine is perhaps best known as a children's writer and, from this book, it's easy to see why. Like most good children's books, it has a sympathetic central character whose troubles we can identify with. The characters - Norah, Colin's hyper-critical, bullying mother; Dilys his bossy, selfish sister; and Perdita, Dilys's vain and interfering friend - are all sharply drawn, and the dialogue is snappy and entirely convincing. The plot follows Colin's slow transformation from put-upon son and brother to an independent-minded individual who can, finally, control his own fate. The catalyst for this change in character is a three-year-old girl, Tammy, who was once saved, in a freakish accident, by Colin's sister. Colin has continued to visit Tammy, whom he adores, and her mother, Mel, a feckless ex-circus acrobat. When Colin has to look after Tammy for a weekend while Mel goes to visit her ex-boyfriend, everything in Colin's world changes. Fine is wonderful at drawing humour out of the most banal and tedious events of everyday life - conversations with grumpy parents, dealings with insurance firms, errands to the shop. Despite the apparently narrow scope of its often grim subject matter, the pace never falters and this is an enjoyable and comic read throughout. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

42 ratings
2.95 out of 5 stars
5 10% (4)
4 21% (9)
3 36% (15)
2 21% (9)
1 12% (5)
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