Saturday, 17 April 2010

When I was Joe by Keren David - Five *

As I review this book I must stress that in allocating it five stars that I stand by every book I have given five stars to - each has been different and each earning it for themselves. But this book was different in so many ways.

The story starts as Ty is taken into the witness protection program. Neither he nor his mother believe they are at risk and resent the intrusion this brings, but as time unfolds the truth of their situation becomes clear and they work hard to adjust to their new selves.

The book is a 'thriller' but it is also about living life as a teenager and a teenager trying to find a way to live in his new persona. The story deals with many issues and it deals with them carefully and knowledgeably. Those issues include the most tragic and delicate subject of self harm as well as the more obvious issues of relationships including love and teenage violence.

If I can level one minor criticism without it becoming an issue though please... His mother seems a bit dippy for a legal secretary training to become a solicitor - mind I have never known any legal secretaries.

This book set some personal bests for me. It became available to me at about 6 p.m. and I stayed awake reading it until about 1:30 a.m. I fall asleep reading books I enjoy and I fall asleep reading books I don't enjoy, but this kept me awake. I dreamt of the story so far and carrying on reading it. I rarely dream! I awake the next morning and read straight away. I always have a cup of tea first but not this time. By 11:15 a.m. I had finished it. I am a slow reader - always have been but a book of nearly 400 pages I finished in about 18 hours - yet another personal best. For me to give this book less than five stars would be a crime but it causes me a problem. Do I read 'Almost True'? The risk is that my reading of it won't bring me the same as 'When I was Joe' did and I will be disappointed and I know many will say 'Almost True' is better but they didn't seem to get what I did from 'When I was Joe'. That is a dilemma - to read or not to read?


  1. Read it! It explores Ty's character a bit more.

  2. But in reading will I enjoy it as much? If I don't then I may be disappointed and that would be something I would hate.

  3. I am totally with you on your thoughts for When I Was Joe. Even though it is a thriller, I was completely moved by it and connected whole heartedly with the story.

    I cannot answer the question about Almost True. I most certainly will read it. I have to know the almost truth.

  4. I have, met legal secretaries, certainly not impossible...can not wait to read Almost True but i shall keep a tight hold of it - When I was Joe still hasn't come back to me after disappearing into daughter's school!

  5. We all read/finished it while we were on holiday - so there is no excuse for it going to school. Lizzie has Almost True at the moment and she had better not lose it!