Saturday, October 12

Book Review: Extraordinary

Title: Extraordinary

Author: David Gilmour

Pages: 185

Summary: Over the course of one Saturday night, a man and his half-sister meet at her request to spend the evening preparing for her assisted death. They drink and reminisce fondly, sadly, amusingly about their lives and especially her children, both of whom have led dramatic and profoundly different lives. Extraordinary is a gentle consideration of assisted suicide, but it is also a story about siblings—about how brothers and sisters turn out so differently; about how little, in fact, turns out the way we expect. My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book started off slow for me, but by the end, I found myself enjoying the book a lot. The topic of the book is very controversial, but I think the author handled it well. However, I did find it odd, as the main character seemed to be getting on well yet wanted to commit suicide, so the premise of the book seemed a bit off as to why, and the reader never really get into the characters head, which took away from the overall reading experience.

One of my main irks with the book was the characters - there just wasn't any connection between myself as the reader and the characters, they lacked something, and that's what prevented the book from being a great read to a fantastic, must read.

Especially considering some of the last few pages, where the author created some very powerful moments, they were effect on the reader, but not as effective as they should have been. I think had there been more an intimate connection to the between the reader and the characters, that ending would have been a haunting and emotional one. The reminiscing of the characters past, their personal stories or stories about their children was also well done, but again, because there was a lack of a connection to these characters, the impact on the reader just wasn't there.

Yet, despite the lack of a connection between myself and the characters, I read the book to the end, in pretty much one sitting, and I have to say, overall it was an enjoyable read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, despite the current controversy around the author, I'd say put things aside and read the book. It was a good read and there's a lot to take from it. I think a lot of readers out there would love the book.

What to read next: October, Amsterdam, The other longlisted books from the Giller Prize

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

This book is part of an ongoing read project on the blog to read all of the 2013 Giller Longlist book selections. Click Here for further details.


  1. At the moment, due to Gilmour's controversy, I don't think I can read this book. I just don't think I will be able to separate his opinions from his novel. That being said, it does sound like an interesting premise. Give me a year or so and maybe i will pick it up.

    1. It was a good read, and so far my favourite book off of the longlist. I was able to get past the controversy, although I'm not at all please with what was said, he's entitled to his opinions. The book itself, is well worth picking up.

  2. I felt the same sense of distance with the characters; I think I would have enjoyed the story more, had that connection been stronger.

    1. Yes, I think that distance from the characters hurt the book in some ways.