Author: Matt Whyman Publisher: Hot Key Books Published: 6th June 2013 Pages: 288 Format: Paperback Source:: Proof Copy Add It:Goodreads, Amazon UK, TBD
Summary: They’d love to have you for dinner . . .
Sasha Savage is in love with Jack – a handsome, charming … vegetarian. Which wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that Sasha’s family are very much ‘carnivorous’. Behind the family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha’s father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother’s culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel – as does their sinister taste in human beings . .
In a bid to keep this review honest, The Savages was a book that I started reading and then when I was about half-way through the book, put it down and didn’t pick it up again for a few months. Now I know that this is normally a sign of an uninteresting book but that actually isn’t the case with this book. The problem I had with this book is that it was all about food and at the time of reading I was struggling with a fear of gluten intolerance and thus having to read about how wonderful food can be when I was in the midst of losing my love of food was too hard. However, as soon as I felt comfortable about food once more, I picked the book back up and was incredibly glad that I did as I found it to be a book that was funny, interesting and enjoyable.
For all intents and purposes, The Savages are your average family and they lead a perfectly normal life, except that they come together every few weeks to enjoy the taste of another human. I fell in love with the concept of this book. I thought it sounded so unique and interesting and I was so curious about where the story would go. While this book does deal with cannibalism, it isn’t the main aspect of this story. It is about a girl who is getting closer to being an adult and is trying to find out what kind of person she wants to be. This does mean that her food choices are important but that is simply a metaphor for all the things we face when we’re teenagers and deciding our paths for the first time instead of just following our parents. I thought that this was a wonderful way to represent that and feel that Matt Whyman did a brilliant job with it by creating an enjoyable and fun story that all readers can appreciate and find entertaining.
There is an array of characters in this novel and fortunately, Matt Whyman managed to make them all feel real and not forced. There were a few stereotypical characters but these were minor side characters who didn’t fully flesh out the plot and were therefore easier to deal with and just accept. My favourite character in this book was definitely Sasha. I loved all of the decisions that she had to make and how she made them all. I loved how much she grew throughout the book as well and I would love to see more of her. I also really liked the grandpa in this book as well. I can’t exactly pinpoint why but I just found him to be a really interesting character to read about. Jack, on the other hand, was a character that I disliked from the moment that we first meet him. But only in a pure character driven away, I think he was perfect for the book in that respect.
One of the reasons that I found myself invested in this story was due to the writing style. Matt Whyman has a way of luring in the reader subtly with a style that is easy to read. It is the kind of writing style that allows you to easily picture what is happening in the story as it has just the right amount of detail. On top of this, Matt also manages to add the right amount of humour so as to keep the reader entertained and interested in the story that they’re reading. I always find that writing humour can always be a little hit and miss as everyone’s humour is different but if you like books that have a dollop of black humour, then you’re likely to find this book to be a fun read for you.
All in all this was a book that I did enjoy. While I had to take some time due to its large interest in food content, by the time I finished it, I was just incredibly happy that I went back and gave this book a chance and didn’t just give up on it. I found this book to be full of interesting messages and I really liked how close the family was in this book and how it just really brought out some interesting messages and themes. I would also mention that this is the kind of book that I think would make a really interesting and funny family comedy film and could see so many people just really enjoying it. While this is a Young Adult title, I can definitely see many adults finding themselves fully invested in this book, unable to put it down. Thus, I finish this review by saying that you should stop reading this now and go and give The Savages a read!
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **