Weird but strangely addictive.
I have read one previous novel by Kate Atkinson, and enjoyed it and found I wanted to experience more of what she had written. I discovered Emotionally Weird and thought I was not reading the output from the same author.
This is many stories told together, all interlinking and weaving in between and with an outcome which became more obvious as the tale went along, but not something you would have guessed from the beginning.
Effie is telling the story of her university life to her mother Nora, whilst Nora appears to be commenting on the tale both constructively and with immense criticism of someone bored hearing about another person’s life. Nora is also trying to tell Effie a tale as well. The tale of where she came from, how she came to be and exist in the world. It is apparent Effie does not know who her father is but more revelations are released and Effie finds out she does not know who she is at all.
A book which took a long time for me to get going, but something made me persevere as I hate giving up a book. The humour is somewhat random and there are parts that made me chuckle and most of the involved Professor Cousins who appears at the most opportune moment and brought everyone back down to earth again, despite him not quite knowing who he was or what he was meant to be doing. However, I find these characters have the sharpest observation and acerbic wit. Atkinson did not fail here in the portrayal of the professor.
I confess that despite finishing the book, I passed a lot of it over, all the theory that Archie spouts at one of Effie’s seminars and all the fantasy novel ideas that fellow students seem to be banding around to make their final thesis again was not something that grabbed me. I do not enjoy fantasy, underworld, and complete new kingdoms type of novels. Something struck me that Atkinson had a lot of stories running through her mind, and perhaps all individually they may have made something great if not good, but combining them just made it “weird”.
Reviews are very mixed about this book and to be honest I can see why. I would give it actually 2 and half stars if allowed. However, it lives up to its title, and perhaps one to be avoided in Kate Atkinson’s back catalogue when her other books have been far better in my opinion.
My Rating 2/5