I never read reviews of books before I write one myself. I’d rather give my own thoughts and find I’m a lone voice than be influenced by the opinions of the masses. However, after writing a review I do like to take a glance to see if what I wrote coincides at all with other views. Normally I don’t find myself entirely alone.
It was interesting, after I reviewed this author’s ‘Five on Brexit Island’, to see that many people thought it weak and contrived compared to ‘Five Go Gluten Free’. I now wonder if it depends on the order in which you read the books. Or perhaps it is more about the kind of humour you like? Either way, I did not think Vincent’s ‘Gluten Free’ was a patch on Brexit Island.
In fact, I had more or less decided that this book would get three stars from me. It was funny, to a point, but very little made me genuinely laugh out loud.
Then the last chapters happened and I really did guffaw ‘good and proper’ and that made me push this book up to the 4 star point – though only just.
I liked the Brexit Island story because it was both an outrageous parody of the Famous Five stories and quite a cutting satire on current political issues. Oddly, I saw that some people found it contrived and too biased AGAINST Remainers but, as a fierce Remainer myself, I thought it did well at playing the middle ground. There was no feeling of padding at all.
‘Gluten Free’ though, missed any bite (excuse the pun). It worked too hard to put the Five into a modern context with lots of trademark name-dropping like ‘Google maps’ and so on. There wasn’t really enough in the idea to keep it running all that well. Nevertheless, Bruno Vincent did as good a job as possible and I like his style of writing. The book was never boring and though lacked hilarious moments until the end, there was fun and smile-worthy passages on every page.
So, personally, I’d go for ‘Brexit Island’ over this book any day but, ‘Gluten Free’ was good enough to keep me enamoured with the series. I hope I get to read more. I like these little homages to Enid Blyton and the books certainly take me back to my youth. At my age, that’s much appreciated.
Writer and journalist D K Powell is the author of the bestselling collection of literary short stories “The Old Man on the Beach“. His first book, ‘Sonali’ is a photo-memoir journal of life in Bangladesh and has been highly praised by the Bangladeshi diaspora worldwide. Students learning the Bengali language have also valued the English/Bengali translations on every page. Ken has two new books coming out over summer – don’t miss them!
Both ‘The Old Man on the Beach’ and ‘Sonali’ are available on Amazon for kindle and paperback. Published by Shopno Sriti Media.
D K Powell is available to speak at events (see his TEDx talk here) and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org