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Quite Honestly by John Mortimer
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Quite Honestly

by John Mortimer

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Great fun - excellent for a long train journey or rainy days. Lightharted but not too fluffy. If you like John Mortimer, you will love this. ( )
  mojacobs | Jul 5, 2011 |
Quite Honestly by John Mortimer is the author's 37th book, not counting his plays. After 36 successful publications including the wonderful Rumpole of the Bailey series, I guess his publisher owed him one.

The plot is supposed to satirize well-to-do people who try to help others. The chapters alternate between two first person narrators, Lucinda Purefoy a new volunteer with SCRAP (Social Carers, Reformers and Praeceptors) and Terry Keegan ex-con newly released from prison and into Lucinda's care. Lucinda does not understand Terry's situation; Terry does not appreciate Lucinda's busy-body attentions. So, of course they fall in love. Duh!

The situation is comic and could have been developed into a funny novel, but Mr. Mortimer seems more interested in scoring points against his personal bug-a-boos: environmentalism, same-sex marriage, liberals in the Church of England, people who feel sorry for the lower classes and for criminals, and incompetent parole officers. If those people all really bother you, you may end up really loving Quite Honestly. I enjoy a good joke and I'm willing to admit just about anything as a potential subject for satire. However, I found the humor in Mr. Mortimer's book the sort better enjoyed by pub-goers after they've had a few. Some jokes can be really funny in certain situations, but if you read books only when you're sober you may find those in Quite Honestly fall a bit flat. (For an excellent example of this type of satire working very well please read Graham Greene's novel Our Man in Havana. It's terrific fun.)

I found the main plot point more than a little hard to swallow, even in a novel as comic in tone as Quite Honestly. Lucinda cannot deal with her ex-con charge Terry because she does not understand him. Her father is a up-and-coming bishop, her mother a tipsy middle class bishop's wife. Terry's family life was not so easy. So Lucinda decides she should become a thief like Terry was. Then she'll know all about it. This idea might have worked in a shorter piece, but over the course of a novel the reader cannot help but notice how weak an idea it is. Can anyone really imagine a college educated women who'd become a thief just so she could better understand her ex-con lover? The idea seems like it leapt out of a 1950's movie, a very edgy Doris Day/Rock Hudson story. (The novel began with Lucinda meeting Terry as he came out of jail. I won't reveal how it ends, but I bet you can already guess.)

If any of the above description struck you as funny, I suggest that you make Quite Honestly your "Q" book. Frankly, I expected better from the creator of Rumpole. I'm giving Quite Honestly by John Mortimer two out of five stars. ( )
  CBJames | Oct 4, 2008 |
Long Way Down or How to Be Good are better on do-gooding
  Kaethe | May 27, 2008 |
In alternating chapters, narrated by Suzy Aitchison and Toby Longworth, the two explain what happens when Lucinda, an upper-class bishop's daughter, becomes a volunteer counselor to Terry, a recently released ex-convict. Terry's a professional thief; Lucinda, a well-meaning do-gooder--the result is charming and comical.

Full of eccentric characters I found this to be a quick run read. ( )
  Mendoza | Aug 12, 2007 |
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I don't know why, but I've always wanted to do some sort of good in the world.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143038648, Paperback)

From the creator of the Rumpole stories—a novel of middle-class do-gooding gone awry

Fans of John Mortimer and his popular Rumpole mysteries will love Quite Honestly, a comedy filled with a delightful cast of characters and Mortimer’s unique and entertaining take on a life of crime. Life couldn’t be better for Lucinda Purefoy—college educated, with a steady boyfriend and a job offer in advertising. With all this good fortune, isn’t it appropriate for her to give something back to society? Armed with only good intentions, she joins Social Carers, Reformers and Praeceptors (SCRAP, for short), a misguided organization that recruits women to becomes guides, philosophers, and friends to ex-convicts coming out of prison. Once she meets her charge, Terry Keegan, the ensuing hilarity and mishaps produce a signature Mortimer tale, full of wit and surprise.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Wanting to give something back to society in return for her prestigious education and promising career, Lucinda Purefoy joins an organization that befriends released convicts and finds her life turned upside-down by career burglar Terry Keegan.

» see all 2 descriptions

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