Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Review: Whatever Loves Means by David Baddiel

Author, David Baddiel, sets his novel, "Whatever Love Means", during the hysteria surrounding the death of Princess Diana, in 1997, where a difference of opinion on how this historical event affects people's everyday lives drives the initial wedge between a married couple that begins a process in which, ultimately, several close relationships are utterly destroyed.

Played out to the backdrop of a national event in which many people try their best to turn into their own personal tragedy, a real rupture occurs in the life of Joe and his family as his wife dies in mysterious circumstances leaving him with their small child to look after. Not prepared to accept the official account of the circumstances of his wife's death Joe delves further into the tragedy only to find that he has been terribly let down by all of those who were closest to him.

This book is about the power of sex over loyalty and while it is thought-provoking and tragic at times it is also amusing, perhaps not as laugh-out-loud as some of Baddiel's early television work, but similar enough in style to please fans of this comedian. The plot of "Whatever Loves Means" weaves a complicated trail through the relationships between the central characters, whereby the reader knows the twists of the story before many of the characters do; it is in finding out what lies behind his wife's death that Joe's story leads to an interesting climax.

The characters in this book are very distinct and in particular Vic is a very recognizable type, probably everyone knows a guy as egotistic and irresponsible as this and it is the consequences of his actions that should make many readers stop and think about their own.

If you are a fan of similar authors such Ben Elton, Alexei Sayle, Stephen Fry and other British comedians turned author, then I recommend this book to you. I would also recommend it to readers who enjoy thought-provoking but easy-to-read modern novels; this is quite a compelling book that makes the reader turn the pages quickly.

Score: 8/10

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