Confrontational French by Jonny Lucas – Book Review

Title: Confrontational French (review copy)

Author: Jonny Lucas

Genre/Themes: Comedy, Farce

Blurb from Goodreads

A madcap tale of friendship, love, and roadkill cuisine, in the spirit of Razor Girl and A Man Called Ove

Andrew and Bruce live in a vintage VW camper, running from the law in pursuit of their lifelong dream: to move to Paris as a chef and a poet. But their not-so-haute cuisine and poetry are as fauxed-up as their French, which they learn from a cassette tape of insults. All they need is one last scam to make their dreams come true…

My Review

One of my goals with this blog is to collate all of my book reviews from Goodreads that I wrote down throughout the years. It’s a time consuming process but one I’m enjoying as I get to look back on how my reviewing style has changed over the years.

I joined NetGalley in early January 2017 and Confrontational French was the first ever book I downloaded from the site; I had to start somewhere and I figured that if I read and reviewed a bunch of *read now* titles then I would hopefully soon be more likely to receive books that I had to request to review. And so Confrontational French seemed like the best of the titles that were available at the time.

The story has that time old, and always enjoyable, premise of two lifelong friends wheeling and dealing their way through life just needing that last big pay off before their ambitions can be fulfilled. But life never turns out as one plans and fate or indeed a femme fatale intervenes…

This book was all about potential for me. It had moments of humour and great colour… But that was it. They were simply moments. The proverbial envelope was never pushed to its limits and the story, though admittedly quirky at times, was dragged down by a formulaic plot. It almost felt like the story was trying too hard to be funny and unique, and conversely it ended up falling flat and drowning in simpering predictability.

The main characters, Andrew and Bruce, needed stronger identities. More emotion…

The backstory was given to us initially but never fully expanded upon and by the end it felt like they were still the same young boys that we were introduced to in the first chapter.

In my opinion there was great possibility to expand the storyline by featuring the father character much more.

But most irksome of all was that the femme fatale character was very much an identikit / stereotyped character. She purely existed to serve the plot rather than being a richly detailed personality that any reader could become emotionally invested in.

For me, more focus on creating bigger character arcs would have added to my reading experience.

Overall this was quite a short and snappy read; and on rare occasions I found myself giggling at some of the ridiculous antics of the protagonists.

I was however greatly irritated by the mispronunciations of the non-English words. Once or twice was somewhat funny, but it quickly became tiresome and cheapened the storyline.

To me Confrontational French was a book promised great humour and memorable characters, but sadly it never reached its potential.

And so it turned out that it was not the most auspicious of starts to my NetGalley journey as I could only award it one star.

*A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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