Sunday, 6 December 2015

book review - Doreen: Blonde Ambition, by Leonardo Acebo

This book, unlike its predecessor, Doreen, got off to rather a slow start and at first I thought it would not live up to the promise shown by the first book. But as it continued and gained momentum, I was once more caught up in the web of chaos and catastrophe woven by the inimitable Doreen, and devoured the whole book in a single sitting. The plot gains momentum steadily, like a rolling avalanche, building tension until by the ball-busting finale it is racing along in top gear.

I don't know what it is about the foul-mouthed, slutty Doreen - she's truly appalling, but somehow deeply likable. I think myself that her overweening vulgarity allows us to wallow vicariously in all the uncorseted behaviour that our middle-class upbringings don't allow us to indulge directly. In the instant book, she was ably supported by the smart-mouthed uber-brainy Betsy, brat extraordinaire, which made the perfect foil to Doreen's own vodka-soaked, cigarette-breathed, unashamedly promiscuous bitch-in-heat vulgarity.

A true novelist, Acebo writes in a way that is completely character-driven, and it is the characters alone that make the work shine as it does. Doreen inspires the same kind of affection as does Darryl Kerrigan of The Castle - there's a little bit of bogan in every Australian, and I think probably a touch of trailer-trash in every American - these types are iconic of our cultures, and the love we feel for them has much in common with our love of country.

I did think that the instant work could have done with a little polish. A rigorous proofread is badly needed; typos and homophone errors provided a constant, niggling irritant to me, and this could so easily be remedied. 

Doreen: Blonde Ambition  is available from AMAZON. While you're there, you can preorder my own new romantic comedy, Operation Tomcat.

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