When I first found out about Falling Short, written by Lex Coulton, the blurb promised to be ‘’fresh, funny and life-affirming’’. I am sorry, but no. That is not correct. This book was none of those things. It wasn’t bad at all, but I would prefer describing it as a slow-paced, and confusingly complex in an unsatisfying way.
About the book:
Frances Pilgrim’s father went missing when she was five, and ever since all sorts of things have been going astray: car keys, promotions, a series of underwhelming and unsuitable boyfriends . . . Now here she is, thirty-bloody-nine, teaching Shakespeare to rowdy sixth formers and still losing things.
But she has a much more pressing problem. Her mother, whose odd behaviour Frances has long put down to eccentricity, is slowly yielding to Alzheimer’s, leaving Frances with some disturbing questions about her father’s disappearance, and the family history she’s always believed in. Frances could really do with someone to talk to. Ideally Jackson: fellow teacher, dedicated hedonist, erstwhile best friend. Only they haven’t spoken since that night last summer when things got complicated . . .
As the new school year begins, and her mother’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, Frances realizes that she might just have a chance to find something for once. But will it be what she’s looking for?
I am usually good at explaining why I don’t like a certain book, or why I feel the way I feel, and believe me, with this one, I have spent two days and 6 sittings in front of this draft (now published post) to try and write about it. So I am doing my best now…
First of all, there has to be something about a certain book to make me want to read it. With this one – there were two things:
I love romance and intrigue, and the blurb promised two people not really talking to each other, but sparks flying around… so yes, that got me
The Alzheimer’s disease – as a person that has worked with people suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s, this subject is very close to my heart. I couldn’t miss this book for this reason.
Now – the romance part disappointed me, as there was no romance. No romance at all. Unless, of course, you count as a romance a person in their mid-forties sleeping around with drunk teens, and is then too complicated of a character to even realise who he loves, and why, and the moment he does, he still has no idea what to do with that information.
The other disappointment I had was that I expected to read about the Alzheimer’s, and not only that they weren’t there, but also some of the symptoms mentioned were not correct at all. There were only sex relationships and sex scenes, and that was supposed to define their relationship in the end. Not realistic at all.
Even though it seems that we follow Frances’s story throughout, we actually follow Jackson’s story as well. Their characters were too complicated and confusing for me, and it let me to now feel nor care about them at all. I honestly cared about Frances’s dog the most in this book.
The plot wasn’t perfect – there were times when the information given didn’t match
The scene how Frances searches on Google to find the address of her dad. We are then told that she found out his address through Jean. Which one is it, then?
[SPOILER FINISHED – SAFE TO CONTINUE READING]
I am actually quite sad that I didn’t enjoy this book, but I will still be curious about new works from Lex Coulton, because, somehow, I really liked her writing style, despite all the flaws.
Thank you to Netgalley and John Murray Press for providing an ARC copy of this book to me, in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.