December 10, 2012

30 Books in 30 Days: "Miss Buncle's Book," by D.E. Stevenson

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Miss Buncle's Book, by D.E. Stevenson

Miss Buncle's Book
By D.E. Stevenson
Sourcebooks Landmark

When I first signed up for a review copy of this book, I had been under the mistaken impression that it was a contemporary novel about the old-fashioned foibles of British small-town life, ala Posy Simmonds' delightful Tamara Drewe from just a few years ago; it was only after receiving it that I realized it's actually a reprint of a book written way back in 1934, by one of those authors who were enormously popular in their day but quickly became obscure after their death. So as such, this already only mediocre book then leaves a lot more to be desired when viewed through modern eyes; and while I'm an avowed fan of other gentle British humorists from this time period (P.G. Wodehouse is a good example), Stevenson was no P.G. Wodehouse, and this so-so meta tale (about a dowdy woman who brings infamy to her small town by writing a tell-all novel that becomes a national bestseller) unfortunately reads at points more like a Simpsons parody of pre-war British comedies than a sincere pre-war British comedy. Checking out other people's reviews of this at Goodreads.com, I noticed that the word "cozy" kept coming up over and over in fans' write-ups, which I suppose is as good a way as any to describe this book in a nutshell -- an ultimately empty piece of fluff that even its fans admit they love more for the easy comfort of nostalgia than for its actual quality. It should be kept in mind when deciding whether or not to read it yourself.

Out of 10: 7.4

Filed by Jason Pettus at 3:31 PM, December 10, 2012. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |