Friday, 17 March 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS Review of Eggshells by Catriona Lally

Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
Publisher: Melville House Publishing (14 March 2017)
Source: Publisher/TLC BOOK TOURS


"Vivian doesn't feel like she fits in - and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was "left by fairies." Now, living alone in Dublin, the neighbors treat her like she's crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn't a friend in the world. 

So, she decides it's time to change her life: She begins by advertising for a friend. Not just any friend. She wants one named Penelope. Meanwhile, she roams the city, mapping out a new neighborhood every day, seeking her escape route to a better world, the other world her parents told her she came from. And then one day someone named Penelope answers her ad for a friend. And from that moment on, Vivian's life begins to change."

My Thoughts:
Set in contemporary Dublin, Caitriona Lally's debut novel, Eggshells is a peculiar tale about a dysfunctional, socially phobic woman who believes herself to be a changeling switched at birth for a human baby.  Vivian is determined to track down the faerie portal and return from whence she came. It is also a story about an odd companionship, struck up at Vivian's instigation, of two women who find it painfully difficult to interact, and fit in with society.

Oddness runs throughout in this, pretty much, plotless tale where nothing of substance actually happens.  Vivian makes lists of words she likes the sound of, and when she wants a friend writes, 'I want a friend called Penelope. When I know her well enough, I’ll ask her why she doesn’t rhyme with antelope. I would also like a friend called Amber, but only if she was riddled with jaundice.'  She places numerous posters on trees to facilitate in her attempt to find a Penelope 'friend'.  Penelope who isn't really Penelope but is equally as strange as Vivian, responds to her advertisement.

What started out as a promising story about an innocent whimsical character unfortunately ended up irritating me. I found the never ending witticisms and bizarre scenarios trite, and because of her aversion to her own personal hygiene, hard to stomach the thought of Vivian when she...'savours her meaty smell'...ewwww.  Vivian has an older sister also called Vivian...why? I didn't get to find out.  Anyway, it was just too much to find a smelly, disfunctional, grey haired woman endearing or charming in the long run.

However, Eggshells did have me questioning my thoughts about the main characters' fragility and unusual behaviour, and pondering what mental condition Vivian could possibly be suffering from, and that's a good thing right? Cos why should it matter what her problem is...maybe it's just her personality and nothing's actually wrong with her...well except that she's had little to no social interaction during her formative years, and told throughout her childhood that she doesn't belong here but in another realm.  Ultimately, I realised that the 'cause' or 'fix' is not so important, maybe more tolerance and understanding of those who behave oddly or differently to the 'social norm' is what's more important.  So, it had a profound effect on me which made Eggshells a cleverly imagined character driven story, with little happening but saying rather a lot.

I'd recommended Eggshells for a quirky, light hearted, but thought provoking read making it perfect for book group reads and deal for fans of the Rosie Project, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and A Man Called Ove.

Disclaimer: I received a complementary digital advanced reading copy of 'Eggshells' by Caitriona Lally from the publisher and TLC Book Tours to take part in the blog tour.

studied English Literature in Trinity College Dublin.
She has had a colorful employment history, working as an abstract writer and a copywriter, as well as a home helper in New York and an English teacher in Japan.
She has traveled extensively around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
Caitriona was shortlisted for “Newcomer of the Year” in the Irish Book Awards in 2015


Tuesday, March 14th: Chick Lit Central
Wednesday, March 15th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, March 16th: Books ‘n Tea
Friday, March 17th: SJ2B House of Books
Monday, March 20th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, March 21st: 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, March 23rd: Books and Bindings
Monday, March 27th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Tuesday, March 28th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, March 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, March 30th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, April 3rd: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, April 4th: BookNAround
Wednesday, April 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 6th: Just Commonly

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

This sounds like such a unique and quirky book. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for being a part of the tour.