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Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

imagePublisher: HarperCollins Publishers  
ISBN: 0062082507
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Fiction/Humor/Satire  
Challenges-100+ Reading Challenge, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb

Summary from publisher:

Jean Vale Horemarsh is an ordinary, small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age. She's content, mostly, with the life she's built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (if you ignore the terrible falling out she had with Cheryl all those years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if otherwise unextraordinary man. And then Jean sees her mother go through the final devastating months of cancer, and realizes that her fondest wish is to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of aging and illness. That's when she decides to kill them . . .

This eagerly awaited new novel from Trevor Cole combines the humour and sharp observations of contemporary life that he is known for with an irresistibly twisted premise, for fans of the quirkily macabre Six Feet Under and Dexter, and readers of Paul Quarrington, Miriam Toews, Jonathan Franzen, and, of course, Trevor Cole.
In his first two, GG-shortlisted novels, Trevor Cole proved himself a master of drawing us into the shadowy side of human nature with sharp observation and warm wit.

My Review: 

I am not being facetious when I say it takes a certain type of person to enjoy this book. It takes a certain type of humor and personality type to be able to take this book. If you are a nice person, you will likely find this book to be grim, dark and disturbing. If you are like me, you will find this book quite funny.

Jean has been caring for her sick mother, Marjorie, until her death. Jean becomes disillusioned with death and old age. She decides to rescue her friends from such an undignified fate. She wants them to go out on a high note so she gives them something that would make them happy and the offs them. Jean, in spite of her spectacular insanity, is a completely likeable character. I know one should generally not like serial killers but Jean is so much the “everywoman” that it is impossible to see her as simply a serial killer.

I loved this book. It probably says a lot about my sense of humor but I really did. The humor in this book was right up my alley. I love black humor. It’s really the only kind of humor that I find to be any sort of appealing. I can’t decide whether her actions are completely selfish or the most generous thing ever. She either wants to spare them the pain and suffering of aging and dying slowly or she wants to spare herself the pain of watching. I also find it extremely easy to identify with Jean’s intentions. It should be much more difficult for me to identify with her—because she is a serial killer-- but it is what it is.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


  1. You and I must have a similar sense of humor. I loved this book. I feel like it is something you either "get" or you don't and I got it!

  2. This book will definitely appeal to people with "a certain sense of humor," but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing! Every book has a perfect audience - sounds like you and this book were a great fit. :)

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.



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