Book Review: The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

Title: The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Number of Pages: 256

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes

The unnamed narrator of The Great Godden reminisces about the summer that changed her life and her surprising relationships with two brothers who come to stay with her family. Kit is irresistible to women and the all-around golden boy, while his (technically half-) brother Hugo is strange and sullen. Kit starts going out with the narrator’s younger sister but he toys with her affections regularly and is a general manipulative prick.

The narrator observes the whereabouts of these characters through the telescope in her room and harbors her own desire for Kit as the situation begins to disintegrate. I normally really like Meg Rosoff’s books, but this one was mostly just okay for me. I liked the writing and as usual, the author’s use of atmosphere is sublime but I didn’t really feel like I got to know the characters. They seemed kind of shallow to me and the conclusion was underwhelming.

I was expecting a moment where everything came together but my reaction was more ‘so what?’ Kit uses a lot of people and he has sex with both the main character and her sister, and his promiscuity and her growing bond with Hugo leads to a turnaround in her life. I just never really got a sense of that turnaround. What did she learn? What changed? That all seemed pretty ambiguous to me. This was a book where the descriptive language and setting were much more interesting than the story or the characters.

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