Bright Young Things by Scarlett Thomas was my choice for my book group but despite the very promising blurb on the back it has nowhere near lived up to expectations. I was very excited about this book when I chose it having already read The End of Mr Y by the same author which had impressed me greatly and made me very keen to read this, Scarlett Thomas’ first novel. Unfortunately she has not delivered on a plot that had the potential to be both intriguing and original, particularly given when it was written, just before the explosion of reality TV shows like ‘I’m a Celebrity’. Perhaps for me the basis in 80s and 90s pop culture was what left me feeling a bit bored and uninterested – there are A LOT of references to what was popular in the media and with the general populus at the time Thomas wrote the book. She is honest enough to admit in her own discussion of the book that this was a very deliberate intention and that she does not apologise for this, stating that she hopes this book will provide a lasting snapshot of life in the mid 1990’s. I have to say I fear she may not have been successful in this. The characters are annoying and boring. They do not bring the story to life and do not make you interested in what is going to happen next. The death (sorry, spoiler!) adds very little to the story and really is not explained at all. There is no satisfactory conclusion to this story and I was left feeling like I had wasted a week of my life reading it. Others may well be able to write a more engaing and exciting novel under the same plot premise.
I am gutted that this is the book that I had chosen for my book group. It was a toss-up between this and The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climed Out The Window and Disappeared, and I have to say I am regretting my choice immensely! At least I can cross this book off my ‘To-Read’ list and can move on to better things. The next book club choice is A Very Accidental Love Story by Claudia Carroll.