Book review: The Name You Once Gave Me

By Mike Phillips
Published by Harper Collins

Synopsis: Daniel grew up without a father. His mother told him that his father died the year he was born, and he had no reason to doubt her … until now.
Daniel’s getting married next week. He’s got his future all worked out. It’s his past that’s the problem.
Daniel never knew his father. All his mother would say was that his dad had been a Nigerian who died the year Daniel was born. He didn’t even know what his dad looked like, until an old neighbour showed him a picture. But the man in photo is still alive…and now Daniel will stop at nothing to find him.
This book belongs to the Quick Reads collection, designed to get adults into reading. While I believe that this initiative is worthy of praise, I have found this short novel disappointing.
The starting point is good – a young man on the eve of marriage and fatherhood wanting to know more about his past in order to better understand himself. There is nothing wrong with that but – from the very beginning – Daniel just comes across as someone with a chip on his shoulder who fakes niceties with pretty much anyone he comes into contact with – even his future bride – while harbouring contempt for them. Stroppy is how I would describe him.
Apart from an unintentionally dislikeable main character, in just under 120 pages there are more plot twists than might be credible. Also, if you thought someone could be dangerous, you might want to meet them on neutral grounds rather than invite them into your home… but this is in line with all other poor decisions made by fictional characters, like going into dark cellars when they hear a creepy sound!
I did finish reading the book but – had it been a full-length novel – I probably wouldn’t have reached the end.


Popular posts from this blog

“Italy in books” - reading challenge 2011

Book review: She’s Never Coming Back

Blog tour: Forgotten Women