Swallowing Grandma By Kate Long, finished reading on 12-April-2009
“Katherine Millar is eighteen and desperate to be less fat, less swotty, and to have cooler friends. But most of all, she wishes she had two parents, instead of one grandma, Poll. Poll is pushing seventy, half blind and utterly poisonous. She has looked after Katherine since she was a baby, when her father was killed in a car crash and her mother vanished. Poll’s ambition is for things to stay exactly the same for ever, and for Katherine never to leave their pit village of Bank Top. Katherine has other ideas, and she can feel change is coming; the omens are all around her. In the meantime, she cleans up after Poll, revises for her exams, watches daytime television and surfs the Net at the library to find out how to be bulimic. What she doesn’t quite realize yet is that life won’t always wait for you to catch up with it”
I took this book for reading right after ‘The bad mothers handbook’ by the same author. Since TBMH was interesting, I was very eager to read the book. After going through the initial chapters, it was very evident that the book was going to be a bore. True to expectations, it was a very slow story. Crust of the story is very thin. There is nothing much for the readers to devour apart from the twist at the end of the story.
After all these years of reading, I strongly believe that if the readers could relate themselves with the protagonist, they will definitely hold the book till it ends. Even if author decided to explain the whole story as a third person from the protagonists point of view, reader empathies with the protagonists and makes him or her the whole centre of the story. At the same time, it is really appreciable if the author could portray or reveal the character or situation of protagonist in the first few chapters. Any change in this, unless and until it really affect the story line, is really not a thing I look forward to and I do feel, it is like keeping the readers behind the curtain unnecessarily. It will definitely not make a good read for me. Another readers, with a different perception can differ on this part.
Katherine, the eighteen year old, is not a strong character who can be the centre of the story. With the exception of Vince Millar and Elizabeth Millar, all the other characters failed to etch a mark in the novel and none of them vividly stand out in the crowd. Vince Millar and Elizabeth Millar, two good-sketched characters in the novel, are the only solace for me to hold till end. The title character, ‘Poll’, I think she does get some sympathy even after the author sketched her in black. Overall, the book was dull and dragging. It did not keep up with TBMH. Don’t go after this book just because of TBMH. It is a completely different novel.
The only one thing I liked about this novel, is the so-mother-so-daughter concept. How much ever both are physically non-alike, there tend to be a lot of similarities between them. This concept is very beautifully captured in this novel. Considering this positive part I will give a rating of two to this book.