3 out of 4 stars
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Someone Tell Me What is Going On by Clive La Pensee is a fictional story narrating the happenings in the life of a 19-year old girl called Millicent (Millie) Backhouse in the Suffolk region. Set in the 21st century, the story portrays the sharp contrast between the worlds of the upper-class families and the less-privileged people who work for them.
The readers would enjoy the way the author narrates how a seemingly impossible friendship develops between Millie and her employer-of-sorts—Lady Vera Ashington. Vera hires Millie to be her "smart cultivated young female companion for the summer months.” Their unique friendship—that later develops into something more—starts with Millie teaching Vera how to eat a fried egg the right way. If you are curious, this involves scooping the yolk onto a fork, opening your mouth wide, and shoving the whole yolk into your mouth.
The book provides a highly enjoyable look into how a worker-class girl steps into the world of aristocracy and discovers how the rich are constantly under pressure to keep up “the show” of quiet dignity and can go to any length to cover up their imperfections. What is acceptable behavior and what is not? Millie and Vera have completely different viewpoints on this.
I really enjoyed reading about how the two women eventually begin to understand each other’s quirks and write down some rules for them to follow and call out each other’s “unacceptable behavior.” Some of these rules have really interesting names such as Sultan, Emancipation, and Dialectic. You really should read the book to find out what these innovative rules state.
Both the main characters are well-read and equally intelligent—this makes for some very witty and impressive dialogs. Something new happens at every turn of the page but nothing that tires our mind out. The whole narrative follows a relaxed pace and that makes the book thoroughly enjoyable. And the cherry on the cake is that the story unexpectedly ends up being a whodunit with the mystery getting solved in a highly unpredictable fashion.
One would applaud the author’s writing style because of its rich vocabulary. The book makes us feel as though we live in the midst of Millie’s and Vera’s kith and kin and encounter the twists and turns in their lives along with them. I would give special mention to the way the thoughts and feelings of the characters have been expressed throughout the book—especially in the instance when Millie’s boyfriend, Charley, gets swept into her best friend’s life and feels responsible for that friend’s happiness and the way Millie handles the whole thing like a very mature adult.
The formatting of the book is perfect, with no empty pages or random sentence breaks. The quality of narration is pretty good. However, there are a good number of tense and spacing errors, typos, and several instances of missing periods after sentences. Nevertheless, these errors did not cause distractions. The story flowed seamlessly from scene to scene creating a pleasant reading experience.
Overall, Someone Tell Me What is Going On would be a pleasurable read for all audiences that enjoy relaxed, humorous works of fiction. However, the book is definitely for mature audiences only as it includes some sexual content and the characters occasionally use some strong language. The experiences of Millie and Vera in the Suffolk region have been so beautifully narrated that I found this book hard to put down.
All the characters are well drawn-out. Several societal values are exemplified, which serves as a great guide for all of us in modern-day society. I genuinely loved the narration and the writing style. The only flaw in the grand scheme of things is the lack of professional editing, for which I will have to knock down one star from my rating. However, owing to the quality of the content and the well-portrayed strong female characters, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
Someone Tell Me What Is Going On
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