Thanks for visiting :) You can find books in similar genres/with similar star ratings/by the same author by clicking on tags at the end of the reviews. These are my own reading choices only, aside from those I read for Rosie Amber's book review team; I do not accept requests, do 'review swaps' or give glowing reviews because the writer is a friend. You will see few under 3* as I usually abandon if I can't give at least this rating. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, I'm @TerryTyler4
Thursday, 17 March 2016
FIVE DAYS ON BALLYBOY BEACH by David J O'Brien
3 out of 5 stars On Amazon UK HERE On Amazon.com HERE On Goodreads HERE
In this light, nostalgic story set in rural Ireland, Derek
and his four best friends from university (John, Bill, Sarah and Sinéad) spend
five days camping together, to be joined by six more on the second night. Amongst those expected is Derek's current girlfriend,
Ana. Although he is looking forward to
having someone to sleep with, Derek would rather she wasn't coming;
he has decided he is in love with Sinéad.
This is an easy, relaxing sort of book, and has some pleasing detail
of the flora and fauna of the surroundings, which, I imagine, is written from
the author's experience. The prose
itself flows nicely, is well put together as far as sentence
structure and grammar are concerned, and I liked the philosophical ponderings of the main character.
On the whole, alas, I'm afraid I found the book a little flat. The first twenty per cent-plus is an account
of how the five spent their first night and next day on holiday. O'Brien introduces the characters by saying
which companies they work for and where they come from, etc, and by giving the reader a run-down of their character traits. I
thought their personalities would have been better illustrated by sharp, character revealing or amusing dialogue, or some conflict; as it
is, the dialogue is just chat, the narrative no more than a mildly interesting snapshot of a
group of young people spending time at the beach and going to the pub in the
When the six other people turn
up there are six more passages about home towns and employers and character
traits. Sadly, I found few of the eleven
personalities distinguishable from one another.
The book does pick up after about thirty per cent, with more plot: Derek's romantic/sexual quandary, a confession by one character and
some discord between another couple. However,
I didn't feel the potential of any of these situations was fully explored. A catastrophic event happens near the end,
but even that is dealt with in a mild sort of way only.
I'm sorry not to be more positive; the book is pleasantly written and does have a certain charm, but there is far too much mundane detail all the way
through, and not enough depth or character development.