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Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

Practical Jean (edition 2011)

by Trevor Cole

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11323106,831 (3.57)12
Title:Practical Jean
Authors:Trevor Cole
Info:Emblem Editions (2011), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Canadian, satire, black humour

Work details

Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

  1. 00
    The Postmortal by Drew Magary (hairball)
    hairball: Not directly related--Postmortal is speculative fiction while Practical Jean is more a comedy of murders--but I think readers of one would enjoy the other.
  2. 00
    The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (BookshelfMonstrosity)

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» See also 12 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Dark. Very, very dark. I really liked the narrative voice, and I thought Jean was a great character. Most of the other characters were more two-dimensional, but in many ways that fit the way that Jean saw the world, so I was willing to let it slide. A reasonably short book, but still a little too long, I think; even in 300 pages it became repetitive. And really, after the initial shock of what Jean is doing, there aren't any real surprises or revelations or insights. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book! I could relate to the fact that the main character Jean cared for her mother until she passed away. I cared for my own mother from 3/16/11 until her passing on 8/1/11. I know what it is like to see someone you love in pain and suffering. Dealing with the death of someone that you love on top of it being someone that you are personally caring for really makes one see how precious life can be. Not that I have considered giving "the gift" to my closest friends, but I could also relate in having a long lost friend that you want to make amends with. I found this book to be an interesting and suspenseful read. ( )
  MzKitty | Sep 18, 2016 |
I bought this after reading a synopsis because it sounded like a great concept and pretty funny. While it had its moments, overall, I wasn't thrilled with it. It was a fairly slow read for me (not a lot of conversation, more in the characters' heads) and I didn't really care enough for or about the main character to find it particularly interesting. Plus, I had several ideas of what I thought would be a good ending as I was reading and none of those happened, so that left me on a bit of a disappointing note.

A great idea, but the execution just wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  horomnizon | Sep 15, 2015 |
Originally posted at my blog, a review blog of sorts..."


When I first heard about this book, I was excited. The blurb sounds like a fun dark comedy, the cover fits the blurb to a tee, and overall I knew that I would have a great time reading this. Then I read it and it only left me with mixed feelings.

Jean Vale Horemarsh had to take care of her dying mother, during the ordeal she realized that the entire process was horrible and didn’t want to see anyone else go through that. When her mother finally kicks the bucket, Jean is left with this feeling and wondering what to do. Her husband is worried that she isn’t showing any grieving signs and her friends keep telling her that they’ll be there for her, but Jean just can’t shake this annoying feeling.

Then it hits her. Dying, the way her mother died, was horrible. Dying, when you’re happy, is best. So she comes up with the plan to kill all of her closest friends, so they don’t have to suffer like her mother did. She meets with them, one by one, and tries her best to give them an evening of happiness before she murders them. It’s the least she could do for someone she cares so deeply about.



This was kind of hit and miss with me. The concept, the cover, and the synopsis made me feel like this would be a fantastic dark comedy to read, and for the most part it is. The very idea that Jean would feel compelled to kill her friends and make sure they are happy before death is a morbid topic. But every so often Cole will add some comedic moments that do make you laugh.

Sadly, I felt like the book dragged on at some points and I did feel bored. Jean was a character that I didn’t really care for. I don’t need to like the main character in order to like a book, but there has to be something interesting about them. Jean seems like a very nice woman, who decides to do something horrible in order to fit her own selfish needs. This sounds interesting, but I don’t know if it carried well in the book. At least for me, it didn’t.

The Cheryl side story was interesting at the beginning, but Cheryl has to be one of the most pathetic characters I've ever read. Reading her parts, even though it was needed in the story, did pull me out of Jean and her plot to kill her friends. Actually, I don't even think the Cheryl plot was needed, now that I think of it.
This is still a fun little book to read and if you like black comedy then you’ll definitely want to check this out.

3.5 stars

This was provided by netgalley ( )
1 vote pdbkwm | Sep 8, 2014 |
For fans of black comedy, this novel is just about perfect. Of course, black comedy doesn't appeal to everyone; certainly, it did not appeal to me when I was younger. Now, however, I find that I quite enjoy dark humor. Basically, if you find the description to be amusing and want to read more, then you'll quite enjoy the book.

Jean, of course, is crazy. What else could one possibly expect of someone stuck with the last name of 'Horemarsh?' Cole does a great job of making her brand of craziness believable. He sets up that this idea and her hardness is not coming from nowhere. Her past enables her to do what most people, even those who agreed with her that it would be a mercy killing, would never be able to do.

The cast of characters is lively and quirky, each one providing elements of humor. Here's a sample of the kind of dark humor you can expect: one of her friends betrays her, and as punishment, she does not have the honor of being killed. As I said, dark humor. If you think that's awesome, do yourself a favor and read this!

P.S. Before you start thinking Jean was onto something, please let me recommend instead Natalie's (one of Jean's friends) brand of friendship: "What says 'love' like a chocolate cupcake?" ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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You might think this is a rather horrible and depraved sort of story.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062082507, Paperback)

Jean Vale Horemarsh is content, for the most part, with the small-town life she’s built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (aside from that terrible falling-out with Cheryl years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if unextraordinary man. But it is only in watching her mother go through the final devastating stages of cancer that Jean realizes her true calling. No one should have to suffer the indignities of aging and illness like her mother did—and she, Jean Horemarsh, will take it upon herself to give each of her friends one final, perfect moment . . . and then, one by one, kill them.

Of course, female friendships are quite complicated things, and Jean is soon to discover that her plan isn’t as simple as she initially believed it to be.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:35 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Jean is content -- for the most part -- with the small-town life she's built. But in watching her mother go through the final devastating stages of cancer, Jean realizes her true calling. She will take it upon herself to give each of her friends one final, perfect moment -- and then, one by one, kill them.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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