2 out of 4 stars
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Randy Love . . .at your service is the story of a young man, Randy, who lives under an illusion of grandeur. He believes he is smarter, more handsome, and generally better than everyone else. Born of a surprise pregnancy, when his siblings were already out of school, Randy has to navigate the world whist living in their shadow. Intelligent but lazy, his family doesn’t have high hopes for him. The reader follows Randy as he moved from temp work, to a full time job, and finally moves to London.
The strongest feature of this book is its realism. Initially set in a sleepy town in the Home Counties, Carter does really well to capture the mundane. From minor issues neighbours argue about, to what the young people do with their days, and the repetitive dullness of work. We experience all of this through Randy’s eyes, and it’s a very accurate account of what life is like when one is permanently bored. The more entertaining parts of the first half of the book are what Randy gets up to trying to keep himself entertained at work.
This book is mostly entertaining, it would make a good beach read. There’s no serious heavy drama, there aren’t any challenging passages, and it’s a very easy read.
On the other hand, it isn’t particularly captivating. I wasn’t desperate to come back for more. Randy is amusing, but doesn’t connect with the reader. Part of the character is that he thinks he’s better than everyone, but that makes it difficult to make him a sympathetic character. You’ll read on to see what happens from a situation, but you’re not connected to him enough to really care. Same for the supporting characters, John, Randy’s dad, his girlfriend, his friends, and siblings. They all have affect Randy, so are important to the story, but we get very basic character descriptions. We know what they look like, what they do for a living, and are told their character traits. Unfortunately those traits never seem to come out.
Women in the book were a big issue for me. The reader is introduced to everyone through Randy’s eyes, and Randy, being in his early twenties, doesn’t think of women more than skin deep. The language used to talk about the women is pretty vile and was at many times quite off putting.
Overall I give this a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. Very readable and entertaining, I can’t fault any grammar or spelling, so well edited. There just isn’t a strong enough connection to the characters to push the rating any higher.
Randy Love...at your service
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