…a family saga with warmth and wit
Have you ever thought that you’d make a good Prime Minister or could create a better society? If so, this is probably the book for you. Bestselling author Joe Dunthorne, is hoping for continued success with his new novel, Wild Abandon. It tells the story of a family who live on a communal farm in Wales facing all the issues that living the ‘good life’ brings.
Teenage daughter Kate, dreams of her escape to University and a more conventional life, where as her younger brother Albert, is eagerly awaiting the end of the world. Mum Freya, has decided her marriage is over with Don, who is head of the family and the commune struggling to keep control of both.
As the cracks begin to appear and more people start leaving the farm, Don decides to show one final mark of defiance; cutting the electricity supply. In the build up to the celebrations to mark this landmark event, the family come to terms with who they are and attempt to find reason in the chaos.
The first couple of chapters are a struggle to get into. You are suddenly thrown into this family and commune without any background making you ask questions like, where is this commune, why does it exist and who are all these crazy people?
Thankfully these questions are answered during a flash back to 1989. Here we meet a younger Don and Freya that we discover aren’t new-age hippies but disillusioned students, who decide that they could create a better society in their own commune after observing the ‘rat race’ of London. I think most can sympathise with that.
Star of the show is 14 year old Albert. Every time he popped up you couldn’t help but smile. He reminded me of Ben from Outnumbered, not only does he sounds as if he has swallowed a dictionary but has a determined mind of his own and a lifetime of experience of the unusual.
There are many dark undertones battling against the lighthearted humour in the book, which will surely create plenty of opinions. Nevertheless, by the time I was at the last page, I was wishing for more. Read this book if for nothing else, then for Albert.