Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Reads: No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale!

For the first Friday Reads back from India and back to the more regular blogging schedule I'm gonna be having a book that was read during my vacation time and that was one of those "me" reads, that was not part of any challenges or was a review copy.

No One Else Can Have YouNo One Else Can Have You by Kathleen  Hale

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had read so many reviews for this book, all so very polarized towards the very good or the very bad, that I knew I needed to read it for myself and see what the fuss was all about.

I'm glad that I did, because despite it being a bit too weird and awkward for me at times, I really enjoyed this book. I was not blown away by it, I didn't think it was brilliant, but I did enjoy it a lot. I had to take a break from the awkwardness of it now and then while reading, because it got too weird from my taste on occasion, but I was never tempted to DNF.

No One Else Can Have You read like a satire murder mystery to me, full of humour and tongue in cheek references and loads of veiled and not so veiled criticism. All characters felt like they started real and then were taken to the extreme a bit, which might seem a bit unreal and an extreme caricaturisation but somehow managed to work. I have found that time and again, reality tends to surpass fiction no matter how weird we think that'd be.
I have seen this book being compared to the movie Fargo, and I think it is a great analogy of how awkward and weird it can be.

Kippy as a character was awkward, weird, quirky and sometimes a bit sad, I didn't feel like I could relate to her much (if at all) but I could understand enough of her character and motivations to understand her choices and doubts along the book. Her relationship with her dad is defined by him being a counsellor and by Kippy's mother's death. I felt like their interactions were hilarious and on occasion maddening. Her dad is so kumbaya and psychologically minded that he is blinded to too many things. Her dad managed to irritate me quite a lot, even if I understood how his character would behave like that.

All characters read as over the top caricatures, but somehow they felt completely right for the story of this book. The murder mystery sometimes gets lost in the characters' interactions and development, and I feel that sometimes it was just mostly an excuse to show us the innards of this little town and its inhabitants than a proper plot for itself. Characters and the satire and humour at their expense to a point takes precedence to the murder mystery, but even so, it is done quite well. I might have been too distracted by the weird people of Friendship to figure out the culprit, but I guess that might have been the point of it.

All in all, a very interesting book, very weird too, and that makes it a bit difficult to rate but I'd say it is a 3 to 3.5 stars for me.

View all my reviews


  1. It seems like such a weird story... I think I'm going to stay away from it because I don't really like overblown characters that much. Also, the author's record doesn't really make me want to read the book either. I'm glad you did find some enjoyment in though.

    (And you went to India? Cool!)

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    1. Weird and awkward it was! I have heard about a few Twitter incidents with the author too.
      And yeah, I went to India cause the bf lives there! ;)

  2. I'm glad you liked this, Pili! I was one of the ones who did, too. Kippy was definitely weird, and I'm pretty sure I'd never want to meet anyone like her, but she was fun to read about. I know a lot of people thought the book was offensive, but the way I saw it, Hale had her characters saying hateful things just to demonstrate exactly how hateful they are. I think some people had the idea that it was Hale herself saying those things. I'm glad we both took a chance on this and weren't scared off by the reviews.

    1. The hateful and offensive things... well, I'm sure there's plenty of people out there that unfortunately think like that would say them, and I'm not gonna extrapole those feelings to the author, when she might have been very well writing like that to make us see something we'd rather believe it's not there.
      And yay for taking chances on books! Thanks Stephanie!

  3. The cover of this was just so intriguing. But couldn't decide if I wanted to read it or not. Still not sure, but your review definitely gives me things to think about. Thanks! Hope you had a great trip to India!

    1. Thanks Lisa! The trip was great!
      And glad to hear that my review gave you food for thought!


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