Three Entertaining Reads

The BookDepository

Half Brother

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

Five words from the blurb: chimp, boy, scientist, family, trouble

Half Brother is an entertaining YA novel about Ben, a boy who lives with a baby chimp. Ben’s father is a behavioural scientist and he brings the chimp into their family in an effort to teach it sign language. The book follows Ben’s life as it is turned upside-down by the chimp and the media attention it brings.

This is a sweet, entertaining book that introduces many topics to the teen reader. It would be a great discussion point for talks about our relationship with animals, animal experimentation and the definition of family.

As an adult reader I was charmed by this book. It didn’t contain anything particularly new or noteworthy, but was a good old page turner. Perfect for public transport or when you’re in need of a quick, easy read.

 

The Human Bobby

The Human Bobby by Gabe Rotter

Five words from the blurb: beach, gripping, revelation, puzzling, crime

Outstanding reviews from several of my favourite bloggers (most notably: A Reader’s Respite and You’ve Gotta Read This!) persuaded me to import a copy of this book from America. I’m not sure it is worth shipping across the world, but if you stumble across a copy in your local library you should definitely pick it up.

The Human Bobby is a fast paced read that focuses on Bobby, a homeless man living in a tent on the beach. Bobby used to have a good career, a wife and a young son, but he lost them all. The reasons for his downfall are revealed over the course of the book, as are a surprising number of twists and turns.

I read this book in a single sitting – it was impossible to put down! But on finishing it I felt a little deflated. Everything happened so fast that I didn’t have time to appreciate it – the reader is almost forced to skim read, swept up by the fast paced plot.

If you are after a book to captivate you for an evening then ensure you seek it out, but I don’t think this will leave a lasting impression on me.

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22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

Five words from the blurb: Poland, war, apart, son, England

I first came across this book when investigating the Waterstone’s 11 novels earlier this year. Despite having no interest in the blurb I was captivated by the voice of this little boy arriving in England after escaping atrocities in Poland.

22 Britannia Road is the address in Ipswich where this Polish family find themselves living after WWII. Janusz has not seen his wife or son for six years and the family find it hard to adjust to life together, as well as adapting to the culture of a different country.

This book is easy to read, packed with emotion and contains a few plot twists to keep the reader entertained. My only problem is that I have read similar things many times before and I am beginning to tire of immigration stories. This is one of the best ones I’ve read recently, but it wasn’t original enough to get me really excited. 

Have you read any of these books?

Did you find them as entertaining as I did?

 


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23 Comments

  1. Jeane says:

    These all sound like good reads. I’ve got the Bobby one on my list already, adding the other two now! (I read quite a few books about chimpanzee-language experiments years ago, so quite curious about that first one).

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeane, if you have an interest in chimps then I’m sure you’ll enjoy Half Brother. There are lots of chimp facts sprinkled through the book and I learnt a few things about them. The whole idea of being able to communicate with another species fascinates me.

  2. Kailana says:

    All of these books look good. I have heard of the last one, but not the first two. I will have to add it to my list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kailana, I hope you enjoy them if you get around to reading them :-)

  3. Meghan says:

    I read and enjoyed the last one, but it hasn’t stuck with me so well – I’ve already forgotten most of the details. I’ve not seen the first two, but the first one sounds interesting.

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I can see why it didn’t stick with you. It was easy to read and kept me entertained, but none of the images were especially powerful and so I wouldn’t be surprised if forget about it too.

  4. Anna says:

    I can’t wait to read 22 Britannia Road, but I can see how after reading so many immigration stories they become unoriginal. I will link to your post on War Through the Generations.

    1. Jackie says:

      Anna, I hope you enjoy 22 Britannia Road. It has a lot of emotion running through it, but immigration seems to be a very popular topic at the moment and so I’m afraid it takes real genius to stand out from the crowd. Thanks for the link. :-)

  5. I loved The Human Bobby. It was much better than I expected, and remains a favorite of mine.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mrs Q, I can see why you loved it!

  6. Karoliina says:

    I recently listened to 22 Britannia Road as an audio book, and it wasn’t as great as I expected. It was good enough, but I just expected something more. On the other hand it’s always difficult for me to say how I would’ve liked a book if I’d read it in print instead of listening in an audio format. It seems many audio books keep their distance with me, so to speak.

    1. Jackie says:

      Karolina, Audio books are tricky. So few work well and I can see why this wouldn’t be perfect for the medium. I think you might have liked this more in print, but it isn’t amazing enough for me to suggest you read it again, now that you have experienced the plot.

  7. I’d only read Human Bobby out of the 3 and really liked it – here’s my review: http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/2011/11/book-review-human-bobby-novel-by-gabe.html

    1. Jackie says:

      Christa, Your review is spot on! I agree about the title being a big turn-off. It could do with a re-branding for the UK market!

  8. Alyce says:

    I’ve heard good things about the second two, but I haven’t read any of them.

    1. Jackie says:

      Alyce, I hope you decide to give one a try :-)

  9. hank brown says:

    The Human Bobby was “entertaining ” ??? I found it to be trite and a complete waste of time. The only thing it reminded me of was one of the season finale from the TV show Dallas where Bobby Ewing emerges from the shower and his wife realizes that the entire season was a bad dream. So was this book. Simply awful. If anyone wants my copy let me know otherwise,it goes into the trash

    1. Jackie says:

      hank, I can see why you didn’t enjoy it, but although it wasn’t outstanding I did find it held my attention and entertained me for a few hours. I hope you find someone to take your copy off your hands soon :-)

  10. Jackie, do you think Half Brother would be suitable for 14 yo boy? It sounds like something my son would enjoy – unless it’s meant more for older YA.

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, Yes. Half Brother would be great for a 14-year-old – I think it is aimed at that market.

      1. Thanks, Jackie. I’ll order it right now from Book Dep.

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