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REVIEW: Never Greener by Ruth Jones

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

'Never Greener' had been on my TBR list for quite a while due to my love of Gavin and Stacey. When I saw a hardback version in a local charity shop I just had to buy it! I was not disappointed; I literally couldn't put it down. I was hooked on the complicated relationships that the book holds, dragging you into the lives of all the characters...

The story of 'Never Greener' was not one that I'd normally go for. However, I will read pretty much anything where the main character has the same name as me. The novel is about actress, Kate, who had an affair with married man, Callum, when she was 22. It is now seventeen years later, and Kate and Callum's worlds collide once more, leading them to see if the grass truly is greener on the other side(spoiler: it isn't).

I was immediately hooked on the book due to Jones' writing style. Writing in third person perspective, she is able to dip in and out of each characters lives and thoughts, channelling different perspectives on the same scene. We had access to the thoughts of the main characters, of the child Tallulah, of taxi drivers, in a way that a first-person perspective just doesn't allow. The book also spans a long period of time, using flashbacks to the past to show relationships, rather than tell. I found the use of flashbacks incredibly effective in highlighting aspects of relationships, such as those between Matt and Hetty (loved them), the situation with Adam, and the relationship between Callum and Belinda both pre and post-Kate.

The characters in the story were absolutely amazing. I loved Matt and Hetty, felt torn about Callum, yet HATED Kate. She was selfish, self-destructive, narcissistic, and cold. Yet, that was the whole point. She definitely needed to sort her life out, which she started to realised in order to progress into the future. The ending was almost like that of a movie, a quick glimpse into 'what they are up to now', which I really loved. Considering that the story was so grounded in a sense of longevity, this ending made perfect sense, to tie up those loose ends and 'what if's. The final lines also left room for a sequel! (please?)

One aspect that I found slightly jarring was the whole Matt and Adam situation. I was totally on board with the whole thing going on at university, but the fact that it was just pushed under the carpet after he told Hetty seemed strange. However, this could also be an interesting exploration on the repression of his sexuality, never to be explored again. Just an interesting aspect to think about...

Overall, I adored this and would definitely recommend for people to read!

Favourite quotes:

  • The foreboding and symbolic descriptions after pivotal scenes, e.g. 'in the wok, the abandoned, blackening vegetables began filling the kitchen with the unmistakable smell of burnt food and the smoke detector screeched out its warning high and loud around the house'

  • The transitions between some scenes, such as flashbacks like 'Earth to Hetty' to bring a character back into the present, and travelling to different places, like 'five miles away'. Such good writing.

Love, Kate x

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