Wednesday, 10 July 2013

We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka (2/5)

First published: 2009
Page count: 418

The back says: We Are All Made of Glue is the wickedly funny third novel from bestselling author Marina Lewycka. Georgie Sinclair's life is coming unstuck. Her husband's left her. Her son's obsessed with the End of the World. And now her elderly neighbour Mrs Shapiro has decided they are related. Or so the hospital informs her when Mrs Shapiro has an accident and names Georgie next of kin. This, however, is not a case of a quick ward visit: Mrs Shapiro has a large rickety house full of stinky cats that needs looking after and that a pair of estate agents seem intent on swindling from her. Plus there are the 'Uselesses' trying to repair it (uselessly). Then there's social worker who wants to put her in a nursing home. Not to mention some letters that point to a mysterious, painful past. As Georgie tries her best to put Mrs Shapiro's life back together somehow she much stop her own from falling apart...
I say: After reading and loving A Short Historyof Tractors in Ukrainian, I expected to feel the same love for We Are All Made of Glue, but was bitterly disappointed.

This is chick lit.
And I can’t stand chick lit.

Or should that be women's fiction?

I also can’t stand stupid people. And Georgie was stupid. Unconvincingly stupid - and probably made so for supposed comic effect – but it fell flat and annoyed me. First of all she didn’t know that Georgia was a state in America or a country! She kept going on and on about how she knew nothing about geography, but come on! She was also incredibly ignorant about political affairs, and although I can somewhat buy that, it just made me dislike her ever more. And then there was this:
Another discovery I made, by the way, at the end of the adhesives aisle, is that duck tape has nothing at all to do with ducks. No quacking or waddling involved. In fact it’s duct tape. What a disappointment.
- p. 295

Get the fuck out of here with that level of stupid.
As with the tractors book, I could see that this was supposed to be a humorous novel, but I didn’t find it funny at all. In fact, most of the jokes felt contrived and along the lines of the quote above – just plain stupid. There were a few instances of slight mirth when describing the crazy old lady that kept hounding everyone for cigarettes, and Mrs. Shapiro had a couple of bright moments, but the rest of it induced mere eye rolls from me.

I actually wanted to give about halfway through, but pressed on because I wanted to find out the history behind Mrs. Shapiro and her house.
It all ended in a big yawn, a meh and toss to the side.

In A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Lewycka did a great job of weaving together the history of tractors with the lives of the characters. However, in We Are All Made of Glue, Georgie writes (or edits) articles about glue for Adhesives Magazine and all of the likenesses between glue and the character’s lives were a laboured mess of strained and stretched metaphors.
It was rather embarrassing, to be perfectly honest.

I cringed.
So yeah, 2/5 because chick lit and I are sworn enemies and there was no chance in hell I was ever going to like this.

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