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When We Were Romans

by Matthew Kneale

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4115548,228 (3.43)70
Lawrence is only a child, but he's the man in his family. His little sister is still too young to understand. When their mother drives her young family through the night across the continent to Rome, what begins as an adventure ends in imprisonment.
  1. 20
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (DetailMuse, tangentialine)
    tangentialine: these two books are formally similar in ways that can be annoying, but they tackle dramatically different issues.
  2. 10
    The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: A Novel by Don Robertson (JGoto)
  3. 00
    Room by Emma Donoghue (DetailMuse)
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» See also 70 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
The story is narrated by 9 year old Lawrence and is a recount of the travels of he and his sister, Jemima, with Mum , Hannah, to Rome and back. Mum confides in Lawrence that their Dad is trying to get them and hurt them so they need to escape to somewhere he won't find them. Hannah decides to leave for Rome where she had once lived and worked. She imposes on numerous old friends and as each of these relationships turn sour, the reader becomes aware that all is not right with Hannah. the tension escalates as she commences on the return journey penniless and paranoid.
I found I grew tired of the relentless voice of Lawrence and the device of the text being peppered with spelling mistakes to authenticate the juvenile account became very irritating. It was a worthwhile tale but the structure of the novel was overdone and spoiled a potentially important observation of the mental collapse of a parent as viewed through the eyes of a child. ( )
  HelenBaker | Nov 14, 2018 |
I could take the point of view of the young man, I could take the juvenile references to many things, I could even take the story line/plot. What I could not take was the misspellings — you could tell many of them were so intentional, not an accident of youth. Too staged. ( )
  Bauernfeind | Jun 4, 2016 |
Excellent. A lot like A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Millions. The "narrator" is a nine year old boy and the author conveys this through inconsistent spelling which I found distracting. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Excellent. A lot like A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Millions. The "narrator" is a nine year old boy and the author conveys this through inconsistent spelling which I found distracting. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Excellent. A lot like A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Millions. The "narrator" is a nine year old boy and the author conveys this through inconsistent spelling which I found distracting. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
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For my father, who taught me so much about how to build a story.
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One day scientists found something strange out in space.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Lawrence is only a child, but he's the man in his family. His little sister is still too young to understand. When their mother drives her young family through the night across the continent to Rome, what begins as an adventure ends in imprisonment.

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