Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 16 September 2011

Everything and Nothing - Araminta Hall

Ruth and Christian are a modern couple with all of life’s everyday hassles getting on top of them, trying to find the work/life balance, huge mortgage to pay, with their two young children Betty and Hal, they’ve gone through several nannies, and Christian has had an affair. Hal refuses to eat properly. Things seem to be at breaking point. Their days are exhausting; they both have jobs in media, time together is short and seems to be spent arguing and sniping at each other. Both of them wonder if this is the life they had hoped for, with little time for themselves or each other, even less for their children, they ponder if this is it. Then Aggie comes along to apply to be their new nanny. She fits the bill and is taken on. The house becomes cleaner and more organised, the children like her and are looked after, and some of the strain is taken away from Ruth and Christian. But, and this is a big but, is she really the answer, and how much do they actually know about her anyway?

I raced through this novel wondering what would happen, in particular to Ruth and Christian. Both are interesting creations, not especially likeable at times, and full of flaws. The author captures this particular kind of modern day relationship and lifestyle, two working parents, with all its time pressures and their thoughts of ‘is this it?’ and portrays it very well. This couple is not coping well and their relationship threatens to totally break down. The novel asks several key questions of them; will they survive, can they change and if so how, and at the same time the novel has the character of Aggie lurking in the household, with her own murky past, and I was gripped to see what would happen, and how she would develop. A really good read.


  1. You sold me. Now I want to know how it all works out. Thanks.

  2. I am also intrigued although I do not think I would have taken a second glance had I not read your review.

  3. Thank you for your comment Dana. It is one of those that makes the reader want to get to the end to see what kind of 'twist' there may be.

    LindyLou thanks for your comment I think some readers will like it more than others, for me it was a good read.

  4. Not usually a book I'd pick up, but havign read your review it actually sounds quite good :)


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