The Choke by Sofie Laguna

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The Choke by Sofie Laguna

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Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Stephen Leach
Reviewed by Stephen Leach
Summary: Too intent on wringing tears out of you to do much else, this book ends up not hitting the mark.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 368 Date: October 2019
Publisher: Aardvark Bureau
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910709627

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There's a dull, dispiriting pang of disappointment that comes when you try something everyone else loves and find out that you're really not into it. Coffee. Ice skating. A new Netflix series. Books are like that, but doubly so.

Sofie Laguna's The Choke is a haunting and rather bleak tale about a girl growing up in the midst of a fractured family, struggling with what seem to be undiagnosed learning difficulties. She's habitually ignored and overlooked and longs to escape.

Laguna writes the point of view of a child well. It's very hard to get that voice right – too perspicacious, and you lose the tone; too petulant, and you feel like you're trying too hard. But it works here, though it's not enough to quicken the meandering pace of the story.

Halfway into the novel, I realised that I just… wasn't getting what everyone else seemed to be loving about it. I felt it was too preoccupied with misery. I found it overdone and ever so slightly melodramatic. And – ultimately – I couldn't get into it. I just couldn't get interested enough to want to carry on reading. Maybe I've read too many books about awful parents and tragic situations, or maybe I'm just running short on patience. But all I could say for certain was that I wasn't enjoying it.

Still, I want to reread this someday. I want to see if I can get what I obviously didn't the first time around. Maybe in a few years.

The best book I've read lately was The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – a stellar epic about the lives of four siblings who, as children, are told the precise dates of their deaths.

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Buy The Choke by Sofie Laguna at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Choke by Sofie Laguna at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Choke by Sofie Laguna at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Choke by Sofie Laguna at


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