I never got around to reading Alice Oseman’s ‘Solitaire’. It’s one of those books that’s been on my #tbr for waaaay too long. But when ‘Radio Silence’ fell into my hands I couldn’t resist it. For one, dayum, that cover. And also, I’m just a big fan of anything radio-electric. It comes with being the daughter of HAM radio operator.
The title of this book is so incredibly on it. I could sit and think about that title all day long. It works on so many levels. And then there’s the story itself…I really “like” this book. That sounds weird. And it’s meant to. Because it in no way jumped out at me as a book that I would remember forever or that would change my life, or whatever. But there is something about it that keeps pulling me back.
So, what really worked for me?
The writing – I think, in a very broad and general overview, the writing is what kept me so tuned in to this book. Oseman has an easy, cloying style in the bulk of the book. And by “cloying” I mean that it just sticks to me. In a good way.
Aled – I LOVED his character. I thought he had all the dimensions that some of the other characters sorta lacked. I truly believed all of his motives and actions and feelings. And to top it all off, I could most definitely relate to his experience at university.
Themes – This is a multi-faceted story. It’s not the kind of book where you can say “yep, it’s definitely about this” and I liked that. It felt like an issue-led book, but it wasn’t. For me this book is very much character driven, but I did appreciate some of the thematic concerns. For instance, I think we still need to have a louder conversation about higher education and the pressures of school in general. And I also thought that the dialogue regarding the internet, and more importantly, internet fame, was really well explored.
If it were me, what would I have done differently?
Frances – I just didn’t connect with her as a character, and since she’s the protagonist, that’s a bit of a problem. Something didn’t click. Not sure what. And there were some parts of her story line that felt more like secondary character sub-plots rather than the main action. Which felt strange.
The ending – Or the climax of the action felt very “to the Batmobile, away!” when the rest of the story had been quite gently handled and intelligently captured. I dunno, it left me feeling off-kilter. It’s almost at odds with itself. Which makes no sense… But I know what I mean, and that’s the most important thing right? Ha ha!
I really did like this book. It was easy to read and to keep reading, and by the end I felt satisfied that my favourite character had reached a kind of resolution I was happy with, at least. It has an interesting perspective on many things, including domestic unrest, pushy mums, the internet, higher education, guilt, sexuality, friendship, mental health. There’s a lot of stuff packed inbetween that (gorgeous) cover.
In the end I gave this a happy 4 out of 5 because I have so much love for Aled and his part in this story.
Have you read it? What did you think?
(*Received from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)