Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: The Radleys by Matt Haig

Publisher: Free Press
Publish Date: December 28, 2010
Hardcover, 384 pages

My Review:

A fascinating look at the family life of vampires. The Radleys is about a family where the parents are abstaining vampires who have chosen their life and also chosen not to tell their children they are vampires. The children are teenagers who barely fit in at school and both can't figure out why they are so different from others. Because of the treatment at school, the brother and sister are close and I liked that aspect. Recently a new girl has moved to town and has befriended Clara and Rowan, the brother has a crush on the new girl. Then the unthinkable happens and it is revealed to the children that they are vampires. Enter the dad, Peter's brother Will and life is turned upside down in the Radley household.

I think what made this book stand out to me is the fact that it is more about the family life and dynamics than it is about any event in the book. When Will shows up the family is in turmoil, secrets are revealed and Clara and Rowan start to question who they are even more. Helen and Peter are in turmoil as well, dealing with the life of abstaining, but still feeling the need to be a vampire. The book spoke to me on many levels with the family situation.

I also liked that there is humor interspersed with the darkness of the book. Watching the Radleys trying to keep up the front of being normal was hysterical at times and sad at others. I think anyone can see some of themselves while reading this book even though we as readers are not vampires (or are we?) ;)

Written in short chapters about different members of the family, I really enjoyed getting a look into each of their lives. It is fun to see the perspectives of the teenagers as well as the parents all in one book. Even though I read this in the middle of the busy week before Christmas, I had a hard time putting it down to get things done. If you want a different and entertaining look at vampires and families then this is the book for you.

My rating: 4.5/5.0 

About the Book:
Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.

About the Author:
Matt Haig has written 6 novels for kids and grown-ups.  Find out more about him at his webpage below.


***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love comments on the blog and do take the time to read them.