Saturday, 12 July 2014

Review- The Savages (Matt Whyman)   

They'd love to have you for dinner . . .

Sasha Savage is in love with Jack - a handsome, charming ... vegetarian. Which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous'. Behind the family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother's culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel - as does their sinister taste in human beings . . .

My Review

The Savages are a family of cannibals...not that they do it all the time, just on special occasions. However when their eldest daughter starts dating a vegetarian, and decides to give up meet for a month, much to her parents disgust, the family is thrown into turmoil. 

 I didn’t know what to think going into this book. What drew me in initially was the cover illustration and then after reading the plot, unique idea of a story about a cannibalistic family. I was intrigued how the author was going to portray the family and their ‘habits’ and still make it a YA appropriate book?  And I must admit he did do a good job. He delivered a very different and unique idea, without making it too overly grotesque and kept the story light hearted. The author never particularly went into the morality of cannibalism, but tried to paint the family in a shade of grey by explaining the root of their ‘feasting’ heritage, and explaining that they only did it on special occasions and always treated their victims with respect. (Not that that makes it OK).

 There wasn’t particularly much of a plot, and the story focused more on the characters, particularly the eldest daughter Sasha and her discovery of vegetarianism, in a very meat dedicated household. Her father’s reaction to her ‘coming out’ was quite hilarious actually...

"Who is responsible for this?" Titus asked eventually. His voice on the verge of cracking.
"The boy I was seeing" said Sacha. "But it's over now".
"I see" Titus furrowed his brow. "Couldn't he have left you with something more traditional, like a broken heart, maybe, or herpes?"

The story almost felt like it had a religious undertow at times, which was  represented as the meat eaters vs. The vegeterians. They both acted self-righteous, and viewed their way to be the only way. Although I do like how the Savages learnt to accept and respect the choices of their daughter in the end.

The family dynamics reminded me a lot of The Addams Family. There are Titus and Angelica the matriarch and patriarch, who are quite besotted with one another, and give off a Morticia and Gomez feel. Their children, Sasha, Ivan, and Kat are relatively normal. However Ivan has a very disturbing idea of playing practical jokes including, chopping off fingers, knocking his sister out with an iron and putting thumbtacks in peoples food, which lead to some dire circumstances.

Where the book let me down, was the first half. Which seemed to drag on with little happening. There were a few incidents which played a role in the last half of the book, but overall for  a short book of only 280 pages I felt not a lot really happened till the last 100 or so pages.

Overall the book seemed a little random and obscure and read like you were watching a documentary at times.  Most of the action takes place in the last part of the book, but the lead up is quite uneventful and to be honest a little on the boring side. 

Things I loved about the book:

  • The book was light hearted and didn't take itself too seriously, especially since it was dealing with a rather taboo subject.

Things I didn't so much like about the book:

  •  The first part of the book really dragged, and although some of the events were set up for later in the story it just didn't feel like it was going anywhere.

My rating: 2/5

1 comment:

  1. It never ceases to amaze me how people can have such varying opinions of the same book, or the same ANYTHING, really. Reading is such a subjective past time, I love it!

    I appreciated your honest review of The Savages. Personally, I loved this book-the concept, the writing, everything. I recently bought American Savages and can't wait to get into it!


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