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Lots of potential topics but none covered in any depth.

We Are All Made Of Glue - Marina Lewycka


It's hard to review this book, as I enjoyed some parts, but also felt that it was trying to be too many things while failing to fully achieve any of them.


The main character is Georgie who has separated from her husband and is desperately searching for a man to replace him. Her choice of Mark Diabello could not have grated more, he was such a sleaze-bag and I cringed when she let him anywhere near her.


She befriends an elderly lady who lives in a crumbling old mansion and scours the supermarket discounts for bargains. Mrs Shapiro is a Jew who has made her home in Britain after her family fled the Nazis. When she falls and ends in hospital, the vultures start circling, all hoping for a cut of the wealth in her house.


The attempts of two real estate agencies to enveigle their way into the house, with a view to its sale, is an effective metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian issues, but this conflict could have been a more central part of the novel and in my opinion would have made it a much stronger book. As it is, the subject is barely touched on in the early parts, only becoming the central issue towards the end.


Georgina also aspires to be a novelist and we endure painful snippets of her prospective romance novel, relating to her daily life and testing out possible ways of writing her experiences.


Finally, Georgie's son, Ben has found religion and is convinced that Armageddon is imminent.


The use of glue and adhesives (as in the title) is an attempt to bring all these discordant threads together. Most chapters begin with a glue-related title that reflects its meaning within the narrative - irritatingly trying to be clever. And Georgina is an editor for an adhesives magazine.


The ending? Hmm, somewhat neatly rounded off with a rather cliche ending, sadly. I had hoped for something a little more profound, having broached the issues of Jewish homelands and Arab evictions.


Ms Lewicke's touch of humour does surface from time to time, but I've never found her books to be hilarious. The underlying messages, centering around immigration and migrant workers, have always been the stronger feature.


Finally I should mention the narrator of my audiobook, Sian Thomas, who did an excellent job with the accents, particularly Mrs Shapiro and sleaze-bag Mark!


Also read:
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (4 stars)
Two Caravans (4 stars)