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Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith
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Alison Wonderland (edition 2010)

by Helen Smith

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1282194,050 (3.06)15
Member:SadieSForsythe
Title:Alison Wonderland
Authors:Helen Smith
Info:Tyger Books (2010), Paperback, 222 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

  1. 00
    Regarding Ducks and Universes by Neve Maslakovic (Limelite)
    Limelite: Same kind of madcap characters and adventure, only this book is other worldly and centered on cuisine. It's also better.
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Overall, I liked the book, but IMO it had some serious flaws that detracted from what it could have been.

Loved the author's light tone and humorous voice. There were many places where it was laugh out loud funny. The style was kind of French farce/Monty Python sketch-y, which makes sense with the author being a playwright. Some don't like that style - I do. Even if it's not your usual "thing," if you also write, it is worth a read simply for that reason, to better understand said structure. It was also a quick, one-sitting read.

What I didn't like - jumping around POV's, from first person to third, jumping around from past to present tense, and my biggest problem was, when it comes to the main character, she was not really there. We get that she's witty, young, and likes to party, but nothing that sets her apart as a person, makes her likeable or even particularly interesting. She has no family, no pets, no permanent friends or lovers, no specific dreams or hopes. Some funny things happen to her during the book, but most of them only peripherally involve her. She rarely takes any direct action, and we don't feel she has anything at stake in solving the main problem/objective (and in fact, *she* doesn't resolve it.)

It was entertaining, a decent beach read, but if you are looking for something with deeper messages about human nature (like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland) you won't find it here. ( )
  writerbeverly | May 1, 2014 |
50-page rule. Too many details, not enough plot.
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Received as a present for winning a sweepstake.
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Ambivalent about this book. I’m reading it, enjoying it, but can’t say that my imagination is captured by it.

Alison Temple is divorced, at loose ends, and newly hired in the musically mute Mrs. Ella Fitzgerald’s detective agency in London where her duties seem mainly to follow cheating spouses until one day Mrs. Fitzgerald – who is trying to keep a grip on her own sanity in the face of the evidence that her brother Clive is certifiable nuts and maybe something else, too – puts Alison on the case of the Brown Dog. Alison is to gather information on the activities of a genetics engineering firm.

With the help of two sidekicks: Her batty friend Tyron who wants Alison to find her a baby somewhere, and the worshipful support of Jeff, the orally inarticulate but poet neighbor, Alison battles the bad guys and tries to repair her personal life.

The funniest bits are the details about the "shig" – a huge cross-species creature that is tended by an obsessed handler. In spots the book is riotously funny; however, it is too long in spite of its overly short chapters and not really reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's novel at all. Will finish, but I’m not entranced. ( )
  Limelite | Dec 9, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Smith has a keen eye for material details, but her prose is lucid and uncluttered by heavy description. Imagine a satire on Cool Britannia made by the Coen Brothers.
added by emperorsclothes | editTimes Literary Supplement
 
This is a novel in which the ordinary and the unusual are constantly juxtaposed in various idiosyncratic characters… Its airy quirkiness is a delight.
added by emperorsclothes | editThe Times
 
A screwball comedy that really works.
added by emperorsclothes | editThe Independent
 
Smith’s second novel has a comic style with a clear, simple, buoyant prose.
added by emperorsclothes | editIrish Independent
 
An exuberant, acutely observed second novel.
added by emperorsclothes | editThe Independent, Shena Mackay
 
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This book is for Lauren
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My name's Alison Temple and I used to have this line when people asked me if I'm married.
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Book description
When Alison joins Mrs Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation as a private detective, her new job takes her on a series of loosely linked adventures involving an abandoned baby, a transgenic animal and secret tunnels under The Thames. She travels from London to the seaside town of Weymouth and back again with her new best friend Taron, a girl with a hundred candle smile. But someone is betraying her. Is it Taron? Is it Jeff, the sweet-natured inventor who writes her poetry? Or are there darker forces at play?
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Helen Smith is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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