You Spin Me Round by Sam O'Reilly

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You Spin Me Round by Sam O'Reilly

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 1/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: New girl in town Netta falls in with a dubious crowd and ends up frequenting Greenham common in this dreary tale of 1980s studentville.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 352 Date: November 2007
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0141016559

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Quasi-orphan Netta (dead mother, father who drinks) is in need of a new crowd when she heads off to university and leaves the crumbling family nest behind. When she meets Pilah, Mel and Emily during her first term away, she discovers a whole new world of man-bashing, husband-stealing and nuclear warfare. Her studies soon fall to the wayside as she embarks on a mission to find the perfect one-night stand to live up to her new feminist principles.

That's pretty much the whole book in a nutshell. Reader, I hated it. And I never say that. I love books, good and bad, but this one wasn't even hilariously dreadful as some are. The only reason I trudged on to the end was because I was reading it for all of you, not just for me. I thought it was vile and vulgar and pretentious. I think it went wrong at every step of the way: it's set in the 1980s which is a bit too recent to be appealing as a "history" or a book about the "good old days" we used to live in, while equally too long ago for it to be a book about today. That said, it wasn't until the characters started going to phone boxes that I managed to remember it was in the 80s as the back-cover blurb had told me, because it doesn't have an oldie feel to it. It just seemed fake somehow. I don't mind books that flit back and forth between then and now, helping you work out why characters have ended up where they have, but starting and ending in this decade reads oddly in 2007.

Then there's the whole Greenham Common thing. I had to Wiki it just to find out if it was something that really happened, young thing that I am. Why would you choose to write a book about that? It's just weird. And it alienates a whole audience of young 20 somethings who would normally be the first people to pick up this sort of book. Write about uni students and people vaguely that age will be your main audience but a straw poll of friends confirmed no one knew a thing about it... it's not just me being alarmingly ill-informed. I showed this book to a relation of the generation before mine who knew all about the Greenham thing so would have been a much better target for this book. Except... she wouldn't go for it because of the genre. Old and grey and full of sleep, flitty chick lit like this is not what does it for her.

The characters are also unappetising. These girls aren't all empowered, they're whiny and neurotic. Even switching from liking boys to liking girls doesn't do them any favours, and a book that you think should be a bit rude is really more The Lady than Cosmo.

I thought it was wordy where it needn't be, linguistically complex where it could have done with being less annoying, and generally over the top. When a character says

Someone had planted a nuclear bomb inside her. It had been ticking away for nine months.

I wanted to gag. Seriously, who would buy that stuff? With the title in mind all I could think of was that this book spun me round like a fairground ride until I wanted to be sick. Equally at

Friendship is optional, and a matter of free will. Family is mandatory, and forced upon one.

I had to shake my head. That's the opening line to the book, so perhaps it should have been a warning of things to come.

I don't object to what this book says, per se, and it wouldn't make me dislike it more if I did. I like other people's points of view, and think that that's the great thing about reading and escaping into someone else's world, but only if it's an interesting, engaging and well-written world, and I just didn't think this was.

If you must, must disobey me and buy this one, please use the link to the side of the page, as Amazon have got the author's name wrong on their page so you won't get very far if you search for her.

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Buy You Spin Me Round by Sam O'Reilly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You Spin Me Round by Sam O'Reilly at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy You Spin Me Round by Sam O'Reilly at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy You Spin Me Round by Sam O'Reilly at


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Magda said:

Fascinating. It just shows how fleeting the iconic things really are (I get it in space all the time when switching from British/Anglo-American to POlish/Middle Euriopean circles; but this was a bit surprisng example of a time effect: despite being a foreigner, and not here at the time, I still know about Greenham Common - I even remember that the first time I have ehard of it was actually in an Adrian Mole book...I had to look it up :-).

Possibly, Greenham Common has a pop-culture jinx on it, as I recall another utterly, terribly dreadful book with references to it, Ben Elton's "Blast from the Past".