3 out of 4 stars
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Rosie, Bara, Gerry & Tom: a novel by Peter Wood Cotterill is a fictional account of four first person narratives. The four main characters, Rosie, Bara, Gerry and Tom, are all connected in one way or another. Bara and Gerry were married at one time; Tom and Gerry were good friends in the past, and Rosie and Tom are lovers. However, things become a bit twisted when, one day, Gerry goes looking for Tom and runs into Rosie instead. Gerry and Rosie start up a relationship; meanwhile, a chance encounter finds Tom and Bara reconnecting. Set in England and parts of Africa, this book follows the foursome over multiple decades as they grow and their relationships change.
This book is really about people: how they face relationships, how they grow over time, and how people change but also remain the same. The most successful aspect of this book is the unique voice the author gives to each of the four main characters. Rosie, Bara, Gerry and Tom all have chapters told through their first person narration. Without reading the title of the chapter (which would start with the name of the character at the focus of the chapter), it was easy to tell who was narrating. Each of the four characters speak differently and have unique thoughts that are clearly attributed to their individual personalities. The author masterfully brought to life four unique, understandable personas, making their stories that much more interesting.
Although the author succeeded in many aspects, there were a few drawbacks to this story. First of all, when we are first introduced to Rosie, her chapters are very difficult to interpret. She is a non-native speaker and has a very thick accent, as well as a poor handle on the English language. Despite this being an accurate representation of her character, the writing style for her narration was very difficult to decipher and significantly hindered the flow of the story. However, as the story progresses and Rosie’s understanding of English improves, this is reflected in her narration, and her portions become much easier to get through.
Additionally, there were a few points in the story where the pacing dragged and it became difficult to connect with or care about the characters. Generally, I enjoyed reading about Rosie’s growth and Tom’s struggles, but I had difficulty liking Gerry or caring about Bara. This book is relatively short, and it didn’t feel like there was enough time to develop all four of the characters so the reader could feel a stake in their outcomes, leading to a lack of interest in the overall ending of the story.
Rosie, Bara, Gerry & Tom is a difficult book to rate. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and the unique voice he gave to each of the four main characters. However, the general story was sometimes lacking and the pacing felt off at times, preventing me from giving it the highest rating. Therefore, I decided to rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. Readers who enjoy books about different perspectives and those interested in international stories will enjoy this author’s style.
'Rosie, Bara, Gerry & Tom'
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