2015 book challenge – #3 – Sweet Tooth

What’s the challenge? Find it here.

Book 3 is Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan.

Recommended by a real-life friend who works in marketing and studied history (and so who does not like to read historical novels!).

I’ve read Atonement and enjoyed the multiple points-of-view, but no other Ian McEwan (and I’ve decided that I can have only one book from each author in this challenge).

This book follows the life of a girl (and she would describe herself as a “girl”, not a “woman”, I think, being only 23 by the end of the book) who drifts about in life and somehow ends up working for MI5 in the 1970s, in the last days of the oh no, Communism, Russians, etc, before everyone there focused on the IRA instead.

The tone was very easy to read and I enjoyed the descriptions of life in the 70s, but I felt that the protagonist never really had any agency. She rarely made a decision for herself, or chose a goal and worked towards it, she merely drifted. Her inner and outer life seemed much more focused on what the men in her life thought of her and wanted than on what she ever wanted or thought or believed.

The wrap-up at the end explained a bit more as to why this was so, but an explanation of why something is unsatisfying doesn’t necessarily make it more satisfying.

On a more frivolous note, the descriptions of the short stories by the aspiring novelist are hilarious – they sound truly awful.

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