Official Review: Not So Common People by T Gamache

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Brendan Donaghy
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Official Review: Not So Common People by T Gamache

Post by Brendan Donaghy » 01 Nov 2019, 08:41

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Not So Common People" by T Gamache.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Not So Common People is author T. Gamache’s debut novel. If the title makes you think immediately of the 1990s Britpop band Pulp and their hit single Common People, then this just might be the right book for you.

Nathan Smythe is a thirty-year-old barista. He is single and shares a flat with his friends Claire and Frank. The first important thing to know about Nathan is that he owns 2,137 vinyl records. The second important thing to know is that he stores them in alphabetical order. Nathan is someone who needs music and order in his life. He is OCD and is uncomfortable in crowds. Actually, he is uncomfortable with people generally, with a handful of exceptions. The exceptions, on good days, are the people referred to in the title. These are Claire and Frank, plus his family: his parents, his older brothers Graham and Calvin, and his younger sister Marcie.

Nathan is addicted to music. If he isn’t listening to it or talking about it, he is busy compiling his next playlist. His job at the coffee shop simply supports this habit. Nathan loves his life, but he does worry that maybe he hasn’t really got a grip on the whole ‘adult thing.' Then, within a few weeks, everything changes. His siblings face sudden, life-changing events. His roommates, too, are making choices that add to Nathan’s rising stress level. And then there’s Anne, who drops into Nathan’s life and turns it upside down. How can he cope with all this drama? Is there a playlist that can help him be the adult he really needs to be at this time?

This is a warm, witty book that I enjoyed from start to finish. It is an easy read and seems much shorter than its 230-odd pages, perhaps because Nathan’s first-person narration of the story makes it feel like we’re not so much reading about him as listening to him. His self-deprecating, humorous commentary on life not only raises a smile but also gives us an insight into the other characters. The characters in the book are all essentially likable, so time spent in their company passes quickly. I also enjoyed the many references to music that underscore this novel. Possibly that’s because I like most of the music being referenced: Nathan’s taste for Britpop, for The Beatles, U2, The Smiths, and The Clash, are all bands I can relate to. Younger readers or readers with different musical tastes may not like this aspect of the book quite so much.

There are a few errors scattered around the book, but these are neither major nor distracting. Indeed, there is not too much that I disliked about this feel-good novel. I normally avoid first-person narratives if I can, as they usually mean that only one character, the narrator, ends up being fully developed. While Nathan obviously takes center-stage here, the other characters are more than just bit-part players. The author deserves some kudos for making this work.

I am giving this novel three out of four stars, deducting one point for the errors already mentioned. The fact that the story is told from a male perspective means that the book will probably appeal more to male readers than to women. However, the book also has something of a rom-com feel about it too, so female readers should not dismiss it. The book contains adult themes: same-sex relationships feature prominently, while there a few references to sex, together with one or two curse words. There are also a few disparaging remarks made by Nathan about his brother Calvin’s religiosity, but these are directed at Cavin personally rather than at believers generally. If none of that bothers you, then I can recommend this book as one to put a smile on your face.

******
Not So Common People
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Post by ivana7 » 02 Nov 2019, 07:52

I have been interested in this book since the first paragraph of your review. The problem with OCD and the fact that the main character owns an enviable collection of vynl records. I put it on tbr right now! Thank you for a great review!

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Post by MatereF » 02 Nov 2019, 08:45

Sounds like a wonderful read. The book cover is what attracted me, i dont have a huge collection of musoc but i know someone who has. Great review.
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Post by kandscreeley » 02 Nov 2019, 17:13

Even with the errors, I feel like I could really relate to Nathan. I'm not OCD, but I am addicted to music and am uncomfortable around people. I'm curious about his life. Thanks.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
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Post by altave » 04 Nov 2019, 08:11

Your insightful observation about the development of supporting characters in a first person POV narrative has whet my curiosity. And a good playlist can help in just about any situation. Thanks for the review. :tiphat:

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Post by esp1975 » 04 Nov 2019, 17:06

Your description of the book put me immediately in mind of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. That makes me think that I would enjoy this book quite a bit.

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 05 Nov 2019, 12:01

ivana7 wrote:
02 Nov 2019, 07:52
I have been interested in this book since the first paragraph of your review. The problem with OCD and the fact that the main character owns an enviable collection of vynl records. I put it on tbr right now! Thank you for a great review!
Much appreciated, thank you!

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 05 Nov 2019, 12:01

MatereF wrote:
02 Nov 2019, 08:45
Sounds like a wonderful read. The book cover is what attracted me, i dont have a huge collection of musoc but i know someone who has. Great review.
Thanks for commenting!

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Brendan Donaghy
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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 05 Nov 2019, 12:02

kandscreeley wrote:
02 Nov 2019, 17:13
Even with the errors, I feel like I could really relate to Nathan. I'm not OCD, but I am addicted to music and am uncomfortable around people. I'm curious about his life. Thanks.
It's definitely worth taking a look at. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 05 Nov 2019, 12:03

altave wrote:
04 Nov 2019, 08:11
Your insightful observation about the development of supporting characters in a first person POV narrative has whet my curiosity. And a good playlist can help in just about any situation. Thanks for the review. :tiphat:
Thank you for your comments!

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 05 Nov 2019, 12:18

esp1975 wrote:
04 Nov 2019, 17:06
Your description of the book put me immediately in mind of High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. That makes me think that I would enjoy this book quite a bit.
Good spot! Nathan also reminded me of the character Duncan in 'Juliet,Naked'.

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Post by tristenb » 05 Nov 2019, 15:05

I'm not sure that I would enjoy the music part of this book very much since I'm in the younger generation that you mentioned. However, the book sounds like a great story with a lot of really good elements. Thanks for your review!

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Post by rumik » 08 Nov 2019, 10:06

I really like it when I read a somewhat vague title and don't think much about it, then I read the book and at one point it makes sense. That's how I felt when reading your review and coming to the part about the 'not so common people' that Nathan feels comfortable around! The book cover is also really pretty, and I love music so I'd probably really enjoy this. Thanks for the review!

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Post by sanjus » 09 Nov 2019, 05:48

The book "Not So Common People" by T Gamache follows Nathan Smythe, a thirty-year-old barista, who owns 2,137 vinyl records stored in alphabetical order. Music is part of his life and he suffers from OCD. The book really sheds light on people who are not so common and makes it a intriguing read.
life is only knowing the unknown, we can do this by reading books easily- I believe this is my own quote. If someone quoted this before I am glad to know.

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 09 Nov 2019, 10:45

tristenb wrote:
05 Nov 2019, 15:05
I'm not sure that I would enjoy the music part of this book very much since I'm in the younger generation that you mentioned. However, the book sounds like a great story with a lot of really good elements. Thanks for your review!
Thanks for commenting!

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