Saturday, October 26

Book Review: Going Home Again

Title: Going Home Again

Author: Dennis Bock

Pages: 258

Summary: Charlie Bellerose leads a semi-nomadic existence, traveling widely to manage the language academies he has established in different countries. After separating, somewhat amicably, from his wife, he moves from Madrid back to his native Canada to set up a new school, and for the first time in his life he forges a meaningful relationship with his brother, who's going through a vicious divorce. Charlie manages to make a fresh start in Toronto but longs for his twelve-year-old daughter, whom he sees only via Skype and the occasional overseas visit. After a chance encounter with a college girlfriend, he works through a series of memories-including a particularly painful one they share-as he reflects on how he ended up where he is. But two tragic events (one long past, the other very much in the present) finally force him to re-evaluate his priorities and his relationships with everyone around him.

My Rating: 3.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a book I struggled through and it was a book I just didn't care for.

The plot of the book never grabbed my attention and I was often bored with the book. The bouncing back from past and present at times, didn't work in this book as well as it should have. I felt like nothing was properly explored and there were almost two different stories going on. I also felt that, I was waiting for the entire book for the actual plot to happen - and I never felt the story really was told straight through.

I didn't like a single character, their actions, thoughts and overall characteristics didn't connect to me one bit. I found them to be selfish, and quite stereotypical of the middle-aged divorcee man. I also felt a lot of the actions and thoughts some of the characters, particularly Charlie, contradicted each other at times - perhaps this was part of a inner struggle of the character, and the author was trying to show him grow in a natural way, but I didn't buy it.

In the end, not the book for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would, there just wasn't anything to the book to make me want to recommend it.

What to read next: I'd concentrate on the other Giller shortlisted books. I've also heard good things about the author's other books, particularly The Ash Garden.

Challenges: 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge


  1. It doesn't seem like the Giller list is doing much for you this year.

    1. Yeah this year, at least so far, the list just hasn't been to my tastes. At least I've tried some new authors, so I've gotten something out of it.

  2. I had much the same reaction, especially in terms of not connecting with anything. Sad, because I rather enjoyed The Ash Garden.

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone on that one. Is the Ash Garden a good read? Would you recommend it?

  3. It wasn't one of my favourites but, having said that, I've spent a fair bit of time thinking about Charlie and some of the scenes, since. So maybe it got under my skin anyhow!

    1. Well, at least it was a book that stuck with you. For me, it didn't - it seams to be like that with many readers.