navigation

23.9.18

Book Review: The Adults by Caroline Hulse



MEET THE ADULTS...
Claire and Matt are divorced but decide what's best for their daughter Scarlett is to have a 'normal' family Christmas with them all together.


Claire brings her new boyfriend Patrick, a seemingly eligible Iron-Man-in-Waiting. 
Matt brings the new love of his life Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. 
Scarlett, their daughter, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He's a rabbit.

Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Organized Fun activities, drinking a little too much after bed-time, oversharing classified secrets about their pasts and, before they know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends - where this story starts - with a tearful, frightened, call to the police...
But what happened? They said they'd all be adults about this...


Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my review I want you to do something for me. Yes, you...Reading this now. Ok...Imagine your ex (Sorry! I understand the myriad of emotions that will bring up, but bear with me...) Now, picture that ex, with all their quirky little foibles that you once found 'cute' *shudder* and imagine being in the same room as them for a full twenty four hours. Horrific, right? NOW, imagine going on holiday with them. Not only that, but imagine going on holiday with them OVER CHRISTMAS. The thought would be too horrific to even contemplate for many of us, but for Matt and Claire it is somehow bearable...

Between them they decide that a 'family' holiday over the festive period would be an excellent idea (although they're still not quite sure who had the original idea...) for the benefit of their daughter Scarlett. So Matt and his new girlfriend, Alex, and Claire and her new partner, Patrick, all head off to spend Christmas in a holiday park in Yorkshire (along with Scarlett and her imaginary pet rabbit, Posey...) Not awkward AT ALL.
Things take an odd turn immediately when Patrick discovers a girl that he went to school with (and happened to fancy the pants off, go figure) is staying at the same holiday park with her daughters, and Posey decides that because Alex is a Scientist she must kill rabbits and therefore Scarlett needs to make her life as difficult as possible. Despite being very much divorced Matt and Claire still seem to share a bond that goes way beyond having a shared daughter and tee-total Alex is determined not to turn to drink. The whole escapade comes to a head in the form of a dramatic round of archery and burlesque dancing for a five-year-old. Pass the Christmas cake...

I loved the premise behind this book. We've all found ourselves in awkward situations with our exes but the idea of going away to a remote Yorkshire holiday park with them really intrigued me. Understandably, Matt and Claire had Scarlett's best interests at heart and only wanted to make Christmas special for her, but there was no way that this was going to run as smoothly as they both anticipated...
 I was sure that we'd be seeing plenty of humourous situations and mis-understandings, but whilst this storyline was one not to be taken massively seriously - it wasn't quite as light-hearted and as ho-ho-ho-ish as I had imagined. I even found it quite tense and enjoyably awkward at times.
On the whole I really enjoyed the story, but I did have a bit of a problem with some of the characters because I found them particularly difficult to warm to. Matt was a lazy arse and his lack of thoughts towards how Alex was feeling annoyed me at times. Matt is one of those people who seems to sail through life putting in very little effort and yet still comes out on top and there were times when I decided I actively disliked Matt, but we won't dwell on that...
I quite liked Alex and I enjoyed finding out more about her past. Alex is a very logical person who tends to over-analyse things. I really felt for her and couldn't begin to imagine how she felt about spending the festive season with her partner, his ex-wife, said ex-wife's new boyfriend and her step-daughter. Also, she then had to endure her partner signing The Human League on Karaoke with his ex-wife. I mean, come on...
Then there was Patrick. Patrick, Patrick, Patrick. Whilst his heart is undoubtedly in the right place, I couldn't relate to him at all. He did a lot of exercise which is probably one of the reasons why, but he was one of those men who is a complete stickler for rules. I found him boring & quite suffocating, but my opinion of him changed when things got difficult with Claire. I found myself feeling sorry for him, because ultimately he was a good person (albeit a little weird...I'm referring to the whole Nicola thing.) Part of me did feel as though maybe Alex and Patrick would have been more suited to one another, but I think that was me going off on a whole different tangent...
The story is told from both Alex and Patrick's perspectives and I felt as though through this we got to know a lot more about their backgrounds than we did of Claire and Matt. Whilst I liked Claire I did sometimes think she was a little too perfect, but I feel as though I still don't really know that much about her.

The dynamics of this dysfunctional family fascinated me and Caroline has some razor-sharp observations on human behaviour. Her writing is smart and assured and I liked the format in which the book is written; where we hear about an event that has taken place at the start of each chapter but you have to keep on reading until the end until you find out exactly what it was that happened. This really intrigued me and kept me eager to get to the end of the book in order to find out what really did take place and how.

In conclusion I liked The Adults & I’d recommend it if you like reading about whacky family dynamics & slightly outlandish situations. However I definitely won't be going any holidays with any of my exes (or my partner's exes for that matter) any time soon...

With thanks to publishers Orion for the opportunity to review The Adults.

The Adults is available in Hardback & on Kindle.


No comments:

Post a Comment

TEMPLATE CREATED BY PRETTYWILDTHINGS