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Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond. Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered ba Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond. Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not-bold, daring, carefree-and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other. When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked...although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey's actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed them to be.


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Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond. Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered ba Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond. Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not-bold, daring, carefree-and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other. When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked...although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey's actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed them to be.

30 review for Whiskey & Charlie

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annabel Smith

    Well I wrote this book so I'm not exactly a neutral party but for what it's worth, I'm very fond of it! Well I wrote this book so I'm not exactly a neutral party but for what it's worth, I'm very fond of it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    This is a story about twin brothers who were close as young boys and then gradually grew apart as they became teenagers and then became estranged as adults . However , it's about more than sibling rivalry . It about jealousy, mistaken perceptions and how these things can come to shape you as an adult . The story opens with Whiskey in a coma after an accident and Charlie pondering the fact that if his brother dies , he wouldn't have any idea about what songs his brother might have liked played at This is a story about twin brothers who were close as young boys and then gradually grew apart as they became teenagers and then became estranged as adults . However , it's about more than sibling rivalry . It about jealousy, mistaken perceptions and how these things can come to shape you as an adult . The story opens with Whiskey in a coma after an accident and Charlie pondering the fact that if his brother dies , he wouldn't have any idea about what songs his brother might have liked played at his funeral . As the story develops from Charlie's point of view , he has lived in his brother's shadow in a glut of jealousy and a belief that he is the better person. Whiskey has always excelled in sports , has been more successful with girls as teenager and with women as an adult and has fared better in his career than Charlie . At first it's easy to sympathize with Charlie as we see Whiskey taking advantage of situations and seemingly playing Charlie for the fool . Then I realized that I didn't know anything about Whiskey's perspective and I came to question the reliability of Charlie's point of view . The author has done a great job of character development as we gradually learn that Charlie is not as perfect as he would seem , but has his own flaws. This becomes apparent as Charlie himself begins to rethink how things may have happened , things that he blamed on Whiskey . Do we remember our past as it really was or as a means of justifying our shortcomings? There are other issues raised here regarding the meaning of love and family as the long lost brother Mike , given up at birth turns up and as we get to know Rosa, Whiskey's wife . There are even larger questions of quality of life and how to cope with life ending possibilities as Whiskey lays in a coma and his family agonize over their decisions. The time in their lives when these twin brothers were close was when they were young boys playing with walkie/talkies and using the phonetic alphabet alpha , beta , Charlie ..... Whiskey . This plays a part in the story as each chapter is named this way . It not only represents the bond between the brothers but gives a poignant moment at the end . I expected a different ending but loved what Smith has done here. Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aditi

    “Mum used to say we were the same soul split in two and walking around on four legs. It seems unnatural being born together and then dying apart.” ----Melodie Ramone Annabel Smith, an English writer, has penned a terrific novel, Whiskey and Charlie , that traces the life story of two identical twin brothers who were initially close and were thick as thieves, but gradually as they grew up, their strong bond of brotherhood tore apart until the day came when they couldn't stand each other. Initial “Mum used to say we were the same soul split in two and walking around on four legs. It seems unnatural being born together and then dying apart.” ----Melodie Ramone Annabel Smith, an English writer, has penned a terrific novel, Whiskey and Charlie , that traces the life story of two identical twin brothers who were initially close and were thick as thieves, but gradually as they grew up, their strong bond of brotherhood tore apart until the day came when they couldn't stand each other. Initially published as Whisky, Charlie, Foxtrot in Australia, the book has gone into re-print with a new title but with the same charm. Synopsis: Whiskey & Charlie is a captivating debut novel of brothers who have drifted apart and the accident that will determine their future, by an unforgettable new voice exploring the struggles and strengths of the sibling bond. Some twins communicate in a secret language all their own. For Whiskey and Charlie Ferns, the two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, delta) whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies is the best they can do. But as the brothers grow up, they grow apart. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not-bold, daring, carefree-and Charlie blames his brother for always stealing the limelight, always striving ahead while seeming to push Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other. When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, he is shocked...although perhaps not devastated. But as days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever more slim, Charlie is forced to look back on their lives and examine whether or not Whiskey's actions were truly as unforgivable as Charlie believed them to be. This is Charlie and Whiskey's story- the two identical twins who grew up in Australia. Charlie and Whiskey had a good childhood, but time and Whiskey's ever-growing popularity with girls and peers made Charlie a lost soul. And the moment he went into adulthood, the animosity being so strong between him and Whiskey, that they almost stopped communicating, owing to Whiskey's popularity in the advertisement sector. When Charlie and Whiskey were little kids, they used to play with walkie-talkies that their aunt bought for them. They used to talk in code language that only they both could understand. But when Whiskey met into an accident and was lured into a coma, Charlie had to re-think about his opinion about Whiskey that whether is it too late to forgive him. Read this beautiful moving and heart-breaking story of Charlie and Whiskey, and watch yourself going into a deep coma of love and affection for your sibling. The author's prose flow like a lyrics that is tuned into a beautiful song. The writing is absolutely flawless and evocative. The narrative style is layered with emotions and depth. From the very first chapter itself, the author's eloquent words captivated me till the very end. The story itself is a very stirring and tear-jerking one that shows us a man's journey onto the road to forgiving his own brother, which was clearly not an easy path. The story unfolds wonderfully. Charlie's POV helps us to contemplate with his holding-back attitude towards his brother and each chapter reflects his life-story with Whiskey, his mother, aunt, half-brother, Mike and his girlfriend, Juliet. That is yet another story which unravels in the background of Charlie and Whiskey's story. Juliet is a huge part of Charlie's life and they were in a live-in relationship, but Charlie's parents' divorce puts him on a hold about the idea of marriage with Juliet. But their inevitable chemistry keeps Charlie moving forward and became what he was today. Whiskey's wife, Rosa plays a greater role in Charlie's life which manages to lessen the gap between the brothers' estranged relationship. All the characters in the book are strongly and well-developed layered with deep emotions, depth and compassion, thus their demeanor left an impressionistic mark upon my mind. Charlie's inferiority complex attitude annoyed me a lot, but as his memories went deeper into his childhood, I began to see why he hated his brother this much. Although, there is no POV of Whiskey so we exactly couldn't figure out whether he did those things to Charlie intentionally or out-of-fun. Charlie's hatred clouded his mentality of forgiving his brother finally in his death bed, but the supporting characters helped him to clear his judgements and let him see past through the indifferences. The main theme of the book is redemption and forgiveness which the author have strikingly invested in her storyline which only brought out pain and grief in my heart. Verdict: A must-read for everyone if you have a sibling or rather say, a twin. This book grows a new kind of love and respect for our siblings, because no matter what, blood is indeed thicker than water. Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Annabel Smith, for providing me with a copy of book, in return for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    First published in Australia as 'Whisky, Charlie, Foxtrot' in 2012, Whiskey and Charlie is a moving and poignant novel, the story of identical twin brothers, Charlie and William (aka Whiskey) Ferns. Inseparable as children, rivals as teenagers and estranged as adults, their relationship is unresolved when William is badly injured in a freak accident. As Whiskey lies comatose, Charlie struggles to deal with all the things that remain unsaid between them. "He must not die.He must not die because he First published in Australia as 'Whisky, Charlie, Foxtrot' in 2012, Whiskey and Charlie is a moving and poignant novel, the story of identical twin brothers, Charlie and William (aka Whiskey) Ferns. Inseparable as children, rivals as teenagers and estranged as adults, their relationship is unresolved when William is badly injured in a freak accident. As Whiskey lies comatose, Charlie struggles to deal with all the things that remain unsaid between them. "He must not die.He must not die because he, Charlie, needs more time....He had always thought there would be time" The narrative shifts between present events and Charlie's memories of the past, gradually unraveling the reasons for the discord between the brothers. Each chapter is headed with a call sign from the International Phonetic Alphabet, with the designation woven cleverly into the story. Charlie is both a sympathetic and frustrating character. Having always felt inferior to his much more outgoing and confident twin, Charlie has allowed his envy and resentment to sour many aspects of his life. It isn't until Whiskey's accident that Charlie examines his own conscience and is forced to confront the ways in which he has failed not only his brother, but himself. "Charlie had spent all those months trying to find evidence that Whiskey was to blame for their estrangement, looking for justifications for his refusal to forgive Whiskey, excavating the last twentyfive years of their lives in order to come to some sort of definitive conclusion - which of the them was guilty, which of them was not. At last he saw the truth was somewhere between those things, that it wasn't all Whiskey's fault or all his own, that at times they had both done the right thing by each other, and at other times the wrong thing, that they'd both made mistakes and both come come good in their own ways..." Smith's observations of the complicated relationships in her novel are astute and honest. her characters are believable, complex and vividly drawn. Emotion runs high as the characters sit vigil by Whiskey's bedside, with the author capturing the dizzying eddy of hope, grief, guilt and fear. A heartfelt, compelling story about love, redemption and family, the last pages brought a tear to my eye.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I’m not sure about the choice of cover art for Annabel Smith’s superb new novel: it doesn’t seem quite apt to me. Whisky Charlie Foxtrot is a wise and compassionate exploration of sibling rivalry and the damage it can do, and while there are comic elements in the novel, it takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride that brought me to the brink of tears at times. Charlie and ‘Whisky’ are identical twins, but we never learn Whisky’s point-of-view because he’s in a coma after a freak accid I’m not sure about the choice of cover art for Annabel Smith’s superb new novel: it doesn’t seem quite apt to me. Whisky Charlie Foxtrot is a wise and compassionate exploration of sibling rivalry and the damage it can do, and while there are comic elements in the novel, it takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride that brought me to the brink of tears at times. Charlie and ‘Whisky’ are identical twins, but we never learn Whisky’s point-of-view because he’s in a coma after a freak accident. The young men’s relationship has been fraught for many years and the accident forces an intense period of reflection for Charlie, who has to confront the unpalatable truth that he may have left it too late ever to reconcile with his once-loved brother. Set in Melbourne, the story is structured so that it shifts between the seesaw of hope and fear in the present and the disconcerting revelations of a shared past: Charlie and his family have to come to terms with what has happened and the prospect that Whisky may never recover, and Charlie has to revisit the past to deal with his resentment and jealousy. The boys’ use of the two-way alphabet as a way of communicating in childhood is both motif and a framework for the chapters, and the third letter in the title is an inspired choice (which I didn’t fully appreciate until the end of the story). Annabel Smith is a gifted writer; I discovered that when I read A New Map of the Universe.) (See my review where I wrote that her writing is ‘exquisite, seductive and powerful’). Once again I did not want to come to the end of the novel but was captivated. I read on till far too late at night, and in the last chapters I was torn between being too anguished not to read on, and being afraid to learn the fate of characters I had become fond of. To read the rest of my review please visit http://anzlitlovers.com/2012/11/01/wh...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    I really loved this book! Well-drawn down-to-earth characters who are totally relatable. I loved the personal and interpersonal turmoil Charlie experienced, so real and believable! This book will stick in my mind for quite a while, I’m sure!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 stars: “Whiskey & Charlie” is an interesting story about identical twins and sibling rivalry. Whiskey was born first, which matters to those twins! Being two minutes older establishes birth order. Whiskey has always been more social, while Charlie is reticent and careful. This is a story of the brothers’ lives as perceived by Charlie. Author Annabel Smith uses an interesting technique in heading her chapters based upon the radio alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo etc. It’s clever i 3.5 stars: “Whiskey & Charlie” is an interesting story about identical twins and sibling rivalry. Whiskey was born first, which matters to those twins! Being two minutes older establishes birth order. Whiskey has always been more social, while Charlie is reticent and careful. This is a story of the brothers’ lives as perceived by Charlie. Author Annabel Smith uses an interesting technique in heading her chapters based upon the radio alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo etc. It’s clever in that the boys received walky-talkies as youngsters and learned the alphabet by heart. It was one of the more enjoyable times of their lives as brothers. In addition, Smith uses the word in her chapters. I give her credit in furthering her story and being held constricted to a word! As the boys aged, Charlie grew envious of Whiskey (whose birth name was William but they changed it to Whiskey when they got the radios). To Charlie, everything came easy for Whiskey. Whiskey achieved early career success while Charlie floundered in college. As adults, they became estranged. Whiskey is hit by a car and falls into a coma (as the book cover states). This event causes Charlie to reflect on his relationship with his brother. Author Smith did her research on comas and the agony the families of coma victims suffer. Smith developed her characters well in that there are no villains nor good guys. Each character has their individual way of dealing with tragedy. There is a couple of surprise familial twists. It’s a great domestic fiction book. It would be a great book club book because of the varying ways of dealing with adversity. All in all, a solid read, perfect for beach or travel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julianne Negri

    Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, by Annabel Smith is a novel about identical twins Charlie and William Ferns. Significantly, the unfolding tale is built around a chapter structure that follows the phonetic alphabet- alpha bravo Charlie delta echo etc - a code the boys used with their walkie talkies when they were 9 years old and the origin of William’s nickname, “Whisky”. The chapters are essentially vignettes from Charlie’s point of view, from childhood to adulthood, from the UK to Australia. Interspers Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, by Annabel Smith is a novel about identical twins Charlie and William Ferns. Significantly, the unfolding tale is built around a chapter structure that follows the phonetic alphabet- alpha bravo Charlie delta echo etc - a code the boys used with their walkie talkies when they were 9 years old and the origin of William’s nickname, “Whisky”. The chapters are essentially vignettes from Charlie’s point of view, from childhood to adulthood, from the UK to Australia. Interspersed are chapters in the present day where Whisky is in a coma after an accident, resulting in an emotional collision in Charlie’s life. The use of the phonetic alphabet structure is limiting and distracting from the story at times. It was hard for me to switch off wondering how much of the story was invented for the chapter title (for example, Lima – so Whisky’s wife comes from Lima) and how much of the story was bent to comply the alphabetic framework. There are some chapters where the title alphabet code is woven into the narrative with great elegance and others that are extremely clunky. Despite this, Annabel Smith manages to maintain a narrative drive through out. In fact, the book is meticulously structured, both the parts told from Charlies past and the present day chapters about Whisky in a coma and how the family cope with this. The structure of the book, often introducing a new element to the story with each chapter, meant that Charlie and Whisky’s world lacked intricacy and depth for me – it does skip along in jumps and tangents and zig zags. In contrast, the parts about the hospital are detailed, descriptive and, at times, moving. The biggest difficulty I had with this book was attaching myself to the characters. Overall I couldn’t stand Charlie. And the book is ALL ABOUT HIM. He was immature and basically, excuse my French, a dickhead. As a child and teenager he seemed quite lovely but the adult he grew to be defensive, closed, rude, insecure, cowardly, proud and judgemental. Continually. At every juncture. And Whisky, as an advertising go-getter-jet-setter didn’t hold my interest very much at all. Shallow as a paddling pool really. They were not people that interested me at all. What kept me going was warmth and the affection I felt the author had for the characters; the empathy there. There seemed to be many inconsistencies in the story which I wondered were the influence of the twist and turns required from adhering to the alphabetical structure. Sometimes Charlie was closed, even to his girlfriend Juliet, but later the book suggested they always talked to each other before sleep and were open with each other. Charlie disliked poetry – yet earlier he recognised an Emily Dickinson quote. And Whisky marrying a girl from Lima after a week of knowing her just seemed too ridiculous – although the character of Rosa was a lovely salve of truth for the repressed Ferns family. A great counterweight. The central idea that Charlie has to deal with his relationship with his twin brother and therefore himself before the rest of his life can click into place, worked well and rang true. The block for Charlie was understandable – it was a big block – a big chip on his shoulder. The sibling relationship is intensified with identical twins, always looking to the other instead of himself. (“Comparison is the thief of joy” and all that.) The real achievement of this book is sticking with the structure while managing to maintain a strong narrative drive. Some of the chapters are well crafted like a delicate short story and there was certainly many creative uses of the phonetic alphabet chapter heading as springboards. I couldn’t help but wonder if the structural “trick” was removed, would the story be worth it? Strong enough? Would it be more interesting if the point of view changed between the characters? Unfortunately I just found it difficult to immerse myself into the story, found the characters annoying and found the structure distracting and a little too ever-present, laboured, literal and in the foreground. “Whisky Charlie Foxtrot” certainly is a crafted book and the hard work gone into it is evident – a bit too evident at times. For me, I just wish the characters that took me on a journey through the phonetic alphabet had some more maturity and depth to them. Roger that. Over and out.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Schwartz

    Whisky Charlie Foxtrot is a love story, beautifully written and elegantly crafted. It made me cry. Charlie is a wonderful, vulnerable, flawed character. He is a hero on a journey, travelling both forward and backward as his brother lies in a coma. Comas seem such a cliched soap opera device, but Annabel Smith uses the dramatic halt of Whisky's coma as an effective balance to Charlie's emotional journey. The turmoil has a still point. The characters are well developed, each with their own motivatio Whisky Charlie Foxtrot is a love story, beautifully written and elegantly crafted. It made me cry. Charlie is a wonderful, vulnerable, flawed character. He is a hero on a journey, travelling both forward and backward as his brother lies in a coma. Comas seem such a cliched soap opera device, but Annabel Smith uses the dramatic halt of Whisky's coma as an effective balance to Charlie's emotional journey. The turmoil has a still point. The characters are well developed, each with their own motivation, each memorable. Their relationships aren't always easy, but there's an underlying respect for one another that contributes to the book's emotional power. I loved this story. The theme of starting over is subtle, the tone one of understated hope. Or you could read the book just for its style: the tone is conversational, the writing assured. I'm grateful to Annabel Smith for an early copy of Whisky Charlie Foxtrot. I think it will become an Australian classic.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Lester

    I love it when an author pulls off a trick that really shouldn't work. Who would think of writing a novel that is structured around the phonetic alphabet? And, more importantly, who would think that it could work? In this book, it does. What's more, the structure adds to the story - it allows the author to provide us with small moments or vignettes that stand in for larger pieces of the story, or for significant revelations about the characters' motivations. The brothers' relationship is delicat I love it when an author pulls off a trick that really shouldn't work. Who would think of writing a novel that is structured around the phonetic alphabet? And, more importantly, who would think that it could work? In this book, it does. What's more, the structure adds to the story - it allows the author to provide us with small moments or vignettes that stand in for larger pieces of the story, or for significant revelations about the characters' motivations. The brothers' relationship is delicately handled - you feel the pathos of their situation and yearn for the lost moments that could have been shared. Make sure you have a box of tissues by your side when you read this - you'll need them! Highly recommended.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    What first felt like something light, comparable to a Nick Hornby perhaps, morphs in to something more as Annabel Smith brings to life a weak, confused, scared, and extremely human protagonist that won't be easy for everyone to witness. There's so much of the everyday man on the street in Charlie's flaws and his inability to communicate that it might make for difficult reading for some - the acknowledgements refer to one early reader asking why he is such a dick for example - and perhaps we're s What first felt like something light, comparable to a Nick Hornby perhaps, morphs in to something more as Annabel Smith brings to life a weak, confused, scared, and extremely human protagonist that won't be easy for everyone to witness. There's so much of the everyday man on the street in Charlie's flaws and his inability to communicate that it might make for difficult reading for some - the acknowledgements refer to one early reader asking why he is such a dick for example - and perhaps we're so used to our literary characters flaws existing purely as plot points or ways to demonstrate growth over a story arc that when something so human comes along we don't know how to respond? Or maybe it's just that I identify with the guy in many ways and can make excuses for him? Charlie is no Raymond Gunt of Worst. Person. Ever. but he can still be a subtle vehicle for you to take a long look at your inner self. This journey is very deliberately hung on some showy literary artistry (a positive gimmick if you will) which in lesser hands could have backfired; with the non-linear structure and the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet as chapter headings made integral to the story of twin brothers who get lost in their differences, this could easily have become trite and manipulative and reliant on the gimmick as nothing but the literary sleight of hand you wouldn't be surprised to find in some Z-grade Dan Brown rip off (which is saying something right?) Instead it is a highly enjoyable piece of thought provoking contemporary literature and I look forward to reading more from the author.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Whiskey and Charlie was highly recommended to me by a friend. This book will not disappoint any reader. It is a well written novel about relationships, love, loss, searching for self and so many more issues. 5 stars for this emotional, thought provoking novel. Do not take today for granted!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I loved this book. Seriously. It was well written and face paced without being confusing and/or all over the place as with some non linear books. I enjoyed reading this book and couldn't stop turning the pages to see what came next. Annabel Smith manages to tackle difficult subjects and situations realistically and emotionally, creating characters that I both loved and hated all at the same time. Charlie, Whisky, Foxtrot made me feel every emotion from Alpha to Zulu. It made me angry, sad, frustr I loved this book. Seriously. It was well written and face paced without being confusing and/or all over the place as with some non linear books. I enjoyed reading this book and couldn't stop turning the pages to see what came next. Annabel Smith manages to tackle difficult subjects and situations realistically and emotionally, creating characters that I both loved and hated all at the same time. Charlie, Whisky, Foxtrot made me feel every emotion from Alpha to Zulu. It made me angry, sad, frustrated, happy, relieved and sometimes all of them at once. Although comas seem such a cliche soap opera device, Annabel Smith is able to effectively use the dramatic halt of Whisky's life as a fulfilling balance to Charlie's emotional journey. The two-way alphabet is also an interesting concept and plays a hugely prominent part of the book, not just with the characters or each chapter starting with the word of the alphabet but with also bringing it all together at the end. This could have come across very forced and contrite, but Annabel Smith weaved the words into the story in such a way that they were seamless. The last chapter, Zulu, nearly had me bawling my eyes out! The progress (and journey) that each character had made was incredible, and the final chapter really showed that. Fantastic story that I've already ordered my boyfriend to read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    You know what? I really liked this book! Didn’t think I would, was wrong. The author uses the phonetic alphabet as a means to divide the chapters, and while gimmicks usually turn me off, in this case they worked out pretty well, from Alpha to Zulu. The story delves into sibling rivalry, envy, regret, dealing with tragedy and grief, and destroying/rebuilding relationships. Identical twin brothers are at the heart of the story, one comatose, the other regretful for their long-term estrangement. I You know what? I really liked this book! Didn’t think I would, was wrong. The author uses the phonetic alphabet as a means to divide the chapters, and while gimmicks usually turn me off, in this case they worked out pretty well, from Alpha to Zulu. The story delves into sibling rivalry, envy, regret, dealing with tragedy and grief, and destroying/rebuilding relationships. Identical twin brothers are at the heart of the story, one comatose, the other regretful for their long-term estrangement. I think our book group will have lots to discuss with this one next week.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Garry

    Charlie and Whisky are twins. Inseparable as young children, they grow further apart as they get older. Their relationship has its natural ebbs and flows, but eventually they find themselves estranged. It is at this point that Whisky is hit by a car. Charlie is forced to work through his feelings as his brother lies in a coma, and it is this journey that forms the heart of the novel. I loved this book. I have imposed a rule on myself that I am only allowed to have 12 books on my Favorites shelf a Charlie and Whisky are twins. Inseparable as young children, they grow further apart as they get older. Their relationship has its natural ebbs and flows, but eventually they find themselves estranged. It is at this point that Whisky is hit by a car. Charlie is forced to work through his feelings as his brother lies in a coma, and it is this journey that forms the heart of the novel. I loved this book. I have imposed a rule on myself that I am only allowed to have 12 books on my Favorites shelf at any one time, so it's tough for a new book to find its way there. I have no hesitation in making Whisky Charlie Foxtrot a favorite, and expect that its tenure will be a long one (sorry Shards... as wonderful as you are, you've been bumped). Maybe this novel had particular resonance for me because it struck close to home. My brother-in-law lost his twin brother a few years ago. Jimmy was young and active when he was diagnosed with cancer. The family was in disbelief, even more so when he died within six weeks. We'd flown to Melbourne for his wedding, and then for his funeral a few months later. I have seen with my own eyes the effect that a tragedy like this has on a family, and especially on a twin brother. It is a credit to Whisky Charlie Foxtrot that it rang true in its depiction of the grief cycle. One striking element of this novel is its structure, with each chapter labelled as a letter of the phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot...X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu). The chapters are episodic, and the title features heavily in each one. Alpha is about the alpha status that Whisky holds over Charlie. Bravo is the word that Charlie's aunt yells during his performance in a school play - the first memory that Charlie has of doing something better than his brother. Charlie is about... Charlie. And so on. Knowing the phonetic alphabet, I found myself having a lot of fun trying to guess how the author was going to weave each word into the story. How will Lima come into it - are they going to South America? Who will Mike be? Zulu? I used to be part of a writer's group, and we sometimes set ourselves an exercise where three people would write an object on a piece of paper, and then we'd all have to write a short story that featured those three objects. The results were always amazing - I think the restriction led to our most creative and clever work. I assume that the author set herself the phonetic alphabet restriction early in the writing process, and reaped the benefits accordingly. On a slightly negative note, Whisky Charlie Foxtrot included one of my pet hates - an absence of quotation marks. I can't understand why so many authors choose to ignore this perfectly valid form of punctuation, which can only serve to make their novels more difficult to read. Who wants to risk spoiling the flow of a passage by forcing a reader to think about which words are being being spoken by a character? Anyway, it's a credit to the quality of writing that the offence wasn't more obvious - I didn't even notice it until I was a third of the way into the book. I think the greatest strength of this novel is its central character Charlie. I loved him, but I wanted to shake him, but I loved him, which made me want to shake him more. His journey through the course of the novel was magic. The moment towards the end when he realises that he's not the only person to experience guilt and regret is particularly beautiful. I did not know that Whisky Charlie Foxtrot was set in Australia when I bought it. Nor did I know that author Annabel Smith lives a few kilometres away from me. It gives me a bit of a thrill to think that such a wonderful book was crafted literally down the road. I hope that it has an audience that spans the globe.... it truly deserves it....

  16. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    I recently finished Annabel Smith‘s second novel, Whisky Charlie Foxtrot (Fremantle Press 2012). It is the story of two boys, identical twins, Charlie and Whisky, who have become estranged over the years. When Charlie gets the call that Whisky has had an accident and is in a coma, he realises he doesn’t want his brother to die. The reader is led by Charlie through the tales of their childhood in England, and their adolescence and adulthood in Australia. It is told as flashbacks during Whisky’s co I recently finished Annabel Smith‘s second novel, Whisky Charlie Foxtrot (Fremantle Press 2012). It is the story of two boys, identical twins, Charlie and Whisky, who have become estranged over the years. When Charlie gets the call that Whisky has had an accident and is in a coma, he realises he doesn’t want his brother to die. The reader is led by Charlie through the tales of their childhood in England, and their adolescence and adulthood in Australia. It is told as flashbacks during Whisky’s coma. As children, an aunt gave the twins walkie-talkies and each chapter of the book takes its title from a word in the two-way radio alphabet, beginning with Alpha and ending with Zulu. To Charlie, it has always seemed that everything has fallen into Whisky’s lap — popularity, sporting talent, fawning girls. Especially the girls. Girls that Charlie likes. Yet Whisky does nothing to deserve them, nor appreciate them when he gets them. This story could have been milked for melodrama, the will-he-or-won’t-he make it question as a young man hovers on the verge of death. Equally, it could have been a tale of the ‘good’ child winning out over the ‘evil’ one, or a warning against the excesses of a hedonistic lifestyle. But, it is none of these. Other reviewers have talked about Charlie’s growth throughout the story, of his self-examination and realization that he may not acted as purely as he wants to believe. Certainly, by the end of the book, the reader empathises with both boys: Whisky’s joie de vivre and drive is quite alluring, and his choice of wife shows that perhaps he knew what he wanted and what was important all along. This is also a book about family and the strength of family bonds. God knows, everyone tolerates and forgives more from relatives than from anyone else. Siblings can be absolute bastards to each other, but at the end of the day, we’re tied to them through our shared childhoods, our genetics, our blood. This must be amplified for identical twins, who have the same DNA, same image, and who once shared a womb. Could such a bond ever really be severed? Not only did I want to know how this story ended, but I enjoyed it as it went, feeling for Charlie the underdog and also for Whisky lying in a coma. The story unfolds seamlessly as it alternates between the present and the past. The drama unfolding in the hospital is handled with skill, and the book doesn’t slap you about the face with its message. It’s very moving, but not sentimental. Favourite Scene: Hmm … difficult decision. I’ll say the scene early in the book, when Charlie kisses Louise (not all Louise’s are like this, by the way) and she lets him get to ‘third base’. I ached for Charlie when he realised she’d only done it to spite his brother. There’s also a satisfying, romantic scene towards the end that I’d been waiting for and hoping might happen, but I can’t say anymore without giving it away … Favourite Character: Rosa, Whisky’s wife from Peru, the only one who sees his heart, sees all their hearts, is a rich character. I kept thinking of Gloria in Modern Family. I loved what she said and how she said it. And that she didn’t ‘bullshit’. Favourite Quote: From Rosa (speaking to Charlie): ‘And your family is never going away. Always it is somebody’s birthday or somebody’s wedding, somebody is born or somebody dies and there they are, hanging around like a bad smell.’ So true, Rosa, so true.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I found this book very involving and difficult to put down. The story is about twins who are forced to explore their relationship when one of them is comatose after an accident. The emotions in their own relationship are intertwined with others within their family. The book is cleverly written with 26 chapters, each with a theme of the corresponding letter of the phonetic alphabet; a pattern that reveals the principal of the plot. Another great Aussie book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    You really ache for the characters in this book, which centres on a 30+ man, Charlie, and opens with his twin brother, Whisky, in a coma. Their vexed relationship lies at the core of the story, which involves just a handful of key characters. You feel for them all, flawed as they are, especially when conflicts assail them. Is there redemption, and for whom? Read it and see. The novel is beautifully written in a plain, almost conversational style. This is a story that will linger with you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jeniece Goellner

    A wonderful book about twin boys who had drifted apart over years. But an accident bring them and their families back together again. The author used the phonetic alphabet not only as chapter titles, but as a device to drive the story. I enjoyed this, always wondering how the word would fit into the story. With characters that you care for and want to go on a journey with, Whiskey & Charlie ended up being a delightful read that I am sure to reread many times over the years.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jodie How

    What a fantastic book! There are many from this genre (realism) that I've not enjoyed at all but this was brilliant! I love its sincerity and poignancy, it's depth of emotion and well-rounded plot. Well done Annabel, a great read! A book I couldn't get my nose out of! What a fantastic book! There are many from this genre (realism) that I've not enjoyed at all but this was brilliant! I love its sincerity and poignancy, it's depth of emotion and well-rounded plot. Well done Annabel, a great read! A book I couldn't get my nose out of!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Krauth

    This review and interview come to you courtesy of Wild Colonial Girl blog: http://wildcolonialgirl.wordpress.com... Novelist Annabel Smith is a writer who kind of slipped by me. I’m not sure how this happened (but she has blogged extensively on it). I read her first novel A New Map of the Universe earlier this year as if I was in a fever. The language is at times extraordinary. The opening scene where the lovers trace maps of stars on each other’s bodies is *sigh* so erotic, in the best shape of th This review and interview come to you courtesy of Wild Colonial Girl blog: http://wildcolonialgirl.wordpress.com... Novelist Annabel Smith is a writer who kind of slipped by me. I’m not sure how this happened (but she has blogged extensively on it). I read her first novel A New Map of the Universe earlier this year as if I was in a fever. The language is at times extraordinary. The opening scene where the lovers trace maps of stars on each other’s bodies is *sigh* so erotic, in the best shape of the word, that I felt like I might dissolve. It’s a book about abandonment (something that, as a writer, I identify with strongly), and about mothers who disappear (slowly, slowly). It’s a daring and transcendent debut, packed with emotion and punch. I read her second novel pretty much immediately, intrigued by her ability to manipulate me as a reader (in a good way) and pluck at my tender bits and vulnerabilities. Whisky, Charlie, Foxtrot is also assured but completely different in tone, a signal to me that Smith is quite an exceptional writer in the Australian cultural landscape. With this book, I think she deserves to be considered on the international stage (many Australian writers other than Peter Carey should be there). Beautifully structured, pared back in style, it’s a contemporary novel about technique as much as plot, about how words are shaped. As a family negotiates feelings around a brother (or son) in a coma (you can throw away all the cliches too), Smith negotiates how memories are formed and relationships battered by seemingly small misunderstandings — miscommunications and withdrawals — that grow into obstacles almost too big to crawl over. I’ve got to know Annabel (virtually) in the past year. Her debut novel was published by UWA Publishing, like my own. And since just_a_girl was published she has been quick to review it and give feedback, helping me over initial hurdles. She invited me to contribute to her Which Writer For a Day collective blog (with other WA writers) and to think about my favourite book for her ‘Friday Faves’ series. She taught me the importance of writerly communities, and helping each other out online in innovative ways. I was also fascinated by her latest project, The Ark, a digital narrative that pushes the boundaries of fiction — I look forward to seeing it in final form. Here I speak to Annabel about motherhood, writing, and writing mother characters in her fiction. When you were pregnant, what were your expectations regarding having a baby and writing? Were you planning to write after the baby was born? I prepared for pregnancy as I prepare for most things — by reading about it. What I read led me to believe that my baby would usually have 3 naps a day, adding up to 3 or 4 hours in total. Based on this information, I expected I might be able to spend perhaps an hour a day writing. What was it like in reality? Did you get any writing done in the first year after your baby was born? My son was colicky and difficult to settle. He had an abnormally short sleep cycle (only 25 minutes as opposed to the average 45 minutes), and never napped for more than 1 cycle. The time it took to settle him was often longer than the duration of his nap and was horribly stressful. I felt that getting him to sleep was one of my primary functions as a mother and I was failing horribly at it. Often by the time he fell asleep I was completely strung out, and there were a million things to do around the home, so writing didn’t get a look in. I didn’t write a word for the first six months after he was born and I felt incredibly frustrated and resentful about this. Eventually, we worked out a routine where my husband would look after him for half a day each weekend and I would spend a few hours at the library working on my book. Did you find it difficult to sit down and write? Or was it the opposite? Were you more creative, as you had less time, and had to be super disciplined? I was amazingly productive. My writing time was so precious, I didn’t waste a minute. I would sit down at the desk and barely look up for three hours. Did you find the experience of motherhood starting to seep into your characters? Into the way you portray people? I was writing Whisky Charlie Foxtrot then. After my son was born I wrote a scene in which my protagonist Charlie goes to see his mother, and talks to her about his feeling that his brother was her favourite child. She reveals that it was in fact the opposite, and shares her guilt about this feeling. Parental guilt is something you can’t imagine if you haven’t had children. I’d heard people speak about the feeling that they were constantly doing something wrong, or letting their children down in some way and I’d think, just let it go, stop beating yourself up about it. Then I became a parent and I experienced it for myself and I understood how it gets hold of you. So I wouldn’t have thought of writing that scene unless I had experienced that. Did having a child mean you had to go back and rewrite or change characterisation (of mothers or other characters) in any ways? Not that I remember, although having a baby also affected my memory really badly so it’s hard to be sure! In your novels, mothers are often seen as difficult to reach or disappearing slowly out of grasp. Is this a common thread in your work? It isn’t always easy to see the threads in your own work because often they seem to be driven by unconscious impulses. My first two novels both focus on the idea of communication in families — things that need to be said and aren’t, things that shouldn’t be said but are. All sorts of the relationships are fractured, not just those between mothers and children. But when I think about it more carefully, in my third novel The Ark (to be published in 2014) I have a character called Ava, who has a nervous breakdown, and worries about the impact of this on her 8-year-old daughter. And my current work-in-progress centres on a cult built around a woman known as ‘la madre’ which means ‘mother’ in Spanish. So perhaps it is an idea I feel a need to keep exploring in different forms, but it is not deliberate. Mothering can involve managing many conflicting emotions. To what extent do these emotions transform or play a part in your writing? What a great question. But also a difficult one to answer. I have certainly had many conflicting emotions as a mother and perhaps more extremes of emotion too. I had post-natal depression so some of the lowest times of my life have been since the birth of my son. The silver lining of this, for me, is having more compassion for others, especially people suffering with mental illnesses. I think if a writer has compassion for their characters, the reader is more likely to as well, even the difficult characters. So I hope that my experience with depression has helped me to write characters with more depth, and characters who readers might be able to feel sympathy for, even if they are behaving in ways that are hard to understand. Both your books challenge the idea that motherhood and nurturing come naturally. Your characters struggle with grief and detachment. Do you think these are feelings many women negotiate but feel uncomfortable talking about? Undoubtedly. I think there’s a terribly repressive culture which perpetuates the myth that all women are natural mothers and that motherhood is the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to us, and this culture makes it difficult for women to express their true feelings about motherhood which are often ambivalent and complex. I think this culture is changing, which is great to see, but it still has a long way to go.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is another of those books that I'd give more than five stars to if I could. And another book that I almost stopped reading...and then it grabbed me and I couldn't put it down until I was finished!! This is another of those books that I'd give more than five stars to if I could. And another book that I almost stopped reading...and then it grabbed me and I couldn't put it down until I was finished!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hollie

    This review was first posted on Music, Books and Tea Whisky Charlie Foxtrot drew me in right from the very beginning. I read this book in two sittings and loved every second of it. Family feuds are a topic that I’m very familiar with, unfortunately, and this book really hit home with me. Annabel Smith managed to tackle this subject realistically and emotionally, creating characters that I both loved and disliked all at the same time. I spent the first half of this book feeling very sorry for Charl This review was first posted on Music, Books and Tea Whisky Charlie Foxtrot drew me in right from the very beginning. I read this book in two sittings and loved every second of it. Family feuds are a topic that I’m very familiar with, unfortunately, and this book really hit home with me. Annabel Smith managed to tackle this subject realistically and emotionally, creating characters that I both loved and disliked all at the same time. I spent the first half of this book feeling very sorry for Charlie. He’s having to deal with the possibility of never talking to his brother ever again, but not by his own choice. Whisky and Charlie had been at loggerheads for some time, refusing to speak to each other, and Charlie is now having to face a reality where his brother may never speak again, let alone to Charlie. We also learn of Charlie’s past, and how Whisky was always the better twin, the one who was more liked, more popular and just generally better at everything. I really felt for Charlie, especially with the golf scenario. Whenever Charlie was good at something, it seemed like Whisky had to get in on the act and take over. Being an outsider, it’s easy to see that Whisky was jealous of Charlie, but in Charlie’s shoes, it’s easy to see that jealousy as a simple desire to be the better brother. We only get a one-sided view of Whisky, and as the book continued, I was pretty sure Whisky wasn’t as bad as Charlie was making out. In fact, further into Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, Charlie started acting like a complete and utter idiot, and I was starting to get frustrated with both the brothers! I feel like Rosa was a huge turning point for Whisky, she made him into a much likeable character, and I found her to be really amusing. I think a huge part of what stopped me from feeling so sorry for Charlie was when I found out he had rejected Rosa and Whiskey’s request. I can’t say much more because it’s a huge spoiler, but I really couldn’t believe he’d deny them that single request. And I really wanted to slap Charlie upside the head, when it came to his relationship with Juliet. I wanted him to just realise that marriage wouldn’t change his relationship with her, and that she would still love him just as much as she always had. The two-way alphabet plays a hugely prominent part of the book, with each chapter starting with the word of the alphabet. (So chapter one was alpha, two bravo, etc.). The chapter names also played a large part of the plot, and it was nice to see how each word would reflect in the chapter. This could have come across very forced and false, but Smith worked the words into the story in such a way that they just slotted into place seamlessly. The last chapter, Zulu, nearly had me bawling my eyes out, especially with the recital of the two way alphabet. The progress that all the characters had made was incredible, and the final chapter really showed that. I’ve barely even mentioned all the things that I loved about Whisky Charlie Foxtrot. Every time I re-read this review I keep thinking of something else that I want to add, and if I added absolutely everything, this review would practically be its own novel. This book could have become one huge cliché, what with the warring brothers, the coma, and the conflict Charlie goes through, but it isn’t. Annabel Smith managed to write and shape this book into my favourite adult contemporary read of the year.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wendy F

    When I picked Whiskey & Charlie to read and review I didn’t realize that it was a book that was originally released in Australia. The synopsis alone made me pause and take a second look before snatching it up. If I had known it was an Australian book I wouldn’t have even had to pause. I don’t know what it is about authors from Australia… or what it is about me, I should say, that I fell so in love with the writing style. There are some things in life we never feel ready for, that it’s only by When I picked Whiskey & Charlie to read and review I didn’t realize that it was a book that was originally released in Australia. The synopsis alone made me pause and take a second look before snatching it up. If I had known it was an Australian book I wouldn’t have even had to pause. I don’t know what it is about authors from Australia… or what it is about me, I should say, that I fell so in love with the writing style. There are some things in life we never feel ready for, that it’s only by doing them that we become ready. Whiskey & Charlie was written with the type of slower pacing that I love. It’s not boring slow, it’s an intimate type of slow. Annabel Smith took the time to give you all of Whiskey and Charlie’s history, from about age 6 through to adulthood, the age that Charlie is as he tells the story. You find out why Charlie and Whiskey had a falling out, and what I really like about the book is that it doesn’t favor one brother over the other. I found myself equally pissed at the both of them. Normally that isn’t something that I would like in a book, I want a ‘hero’. In this case, though, I think I would have found it completely unrealistic if one brother had been ‘good’ and the other brother had been ‘bad’. They both had their own flaws unique to themselves, and Smith didn’t hold back. She lets them be douchebags to each other the way siblings can sometimes be douchebags to each other, sadly. On the flip side, and the only reason why I couldn’t give Whiskey & Charlie 5 full skulls, was because the book focused the most on all the bad blood between the twins, and gave the readers very little love. Look, in the book Whiskey is in a horrible accident. It’s in the synopsis, right up at the top of this blog post, so not a big surprise. Whiskey is in really bad shape, and Charlie is feeling a lot of regret because he used to love his brother. A long time ago they were inseparable. Rather than tell us that they used to be so close I wish we’d actually read some of that. Even when you mostly can’t stand someone there are times and that you remember, even for a moment, why you loved them. I personally just wanted more of that. I am constantly preaching that when you have a book that is about such a sad subject there’s gotta be a balance of good stuff, there’s got to be something that I can cheer for and unfortunately there was just so much anger. Still, despite my need for happy times, it was a really beautiful story. Charlie’s growth over the course of the story was wonderful to read. I think that it was a good representation of grief and regret. You rarely get a second chance to do it right, and Charlie really learned a hard lesson. The lesson that it’s important to forgive and never take your loved ones for granted. A big thank you to to Sourcebooks and the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review. See this and other reviews at Badass Book Reviews

  25. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Crane

    This book is outstanding. The characters are compelling, relatable and lovable despite their sizable flaws, The writing is easy to follow, yet I found myself indulging on an extremely well written phrase now and again. The story is at times funny and tragic; we get to spend time with this moderately dysfunctional family while they move through considerable grief in a way that is raw and painful, which provides the context and perspective we need to celebrate the little things with them. It slowl This book is outstanding. The characters are compelling, relatable and lovable despite their sizable flaws, The writing is easy to follow, yet I found myself indulging on an extremely well written phrase now and again. The story is at times funny and tragic; we get to spend time with this moderately dysfunctional family while they move through considerable grief in a way that is raw and painful, which provides the context and perspective we need to celebrate the little things with them. It slowly reveals how a major rift has formed between the two main characters who are twin brothers, and how damaging a grudge has become in their lives. As we move between their current story and the past events that shaped it, we are confronted with how difficult it can be to find forgiveness and face our deepest fears. Definitely a good read and I highly recommend!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    4.5 stars. Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith is a bittersweet novel of redemption that is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced strained family relationships. It is an introspective and sometimes heartbreaking story of twin brothers, Whiskey and Charlie, who have drifted apart over the years. When Whiskey is severely injured in an accident, Charlie faces some very hard truths as he waits for Whiskey to emerge from his coma. Grief stricken at the thought that he might never reconcile 4.5 stars. Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith is a bittersweet novel of redemption that is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced strained family relationships. It is an introspective and sometimes heartbreaking story of twin brothers, Whiskey and Charlie, who have drifted apart over the years. When Whiskey is severely injured in an accident, Charlie faces some very hard truths as he waits for Whiskey to emerge from his coma. Grief stricken at the thought that he might never reconcile with his brother, Charlie vacillates between hope and fear as months pass with little improvement in Whiskey's condition. Charlie has lived in the shadow of his more outgoing and friendly brother for most of his life. Popular and well-liked with plenty of confidence, Whiskey fearlessly met every challenge that came his way. Charlie never felt like he quite measured up and he eventually grew to resent Whiskey's effortless successes. As he sits at Whiskey's bedside, Charlie tries to pinpoint exactly when their relationship was irrevocably broken and in doing so, he comes to the stunning conclusion that he shoulders part of the blame for the rift between them. While Charlie is a sympathetic character, he is also very frustrating and sometimes difficult to like. In childhood, Charlie was open and kind, but as his jealousy of Whiskey's accomplishments grew, he gradually became defensive and guarded. As an adult, Charlie is closed off and protective in his relationships and his irrational fears make it impossible for him to make a permanent commitment. Charlie is incredibly judgmental and his unfair assessments lead to contentious relationships with much of his family. It is not until he is on the verge of losing the woman he loves that Charlie truly begins to heal. The phonetic alphabet has special meaning to the brothers and Ms. Smith cleverly incorporates it into the story. Each chapter is named after one of the letters (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc) and these vignettes offer insight into the brothers' complicated relationship. Past and present are seamlessly woven into an incredibly emotional journey of self discovery that is ultimately quite uplifting. Whiskey and Charlie by Annabel Smith is a thoroughly captivating novel that is poignant and moving. This beautifully written story offers a realistic peek into the mind of Charlie Ferns as he weathers the darkest days of his life. It is a truly unforgettable tale of hope and healing that will linger in readers' minds long after the last page is turned.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather L

    This is between 3 to 4 stars. So let's just meet in the middle: 3.5. This was a touching book. Good writing, good character development. There were times I felt irritated, bored, angry and disappointed. Then the moments of happiness, charm, and love leapt off the pages and my image of the story was redeemed. But some things remain unanswered. So I'm left a little lost. Without those satisfying parts and no stone unturned, I'm compelled to rate it lower than I imagined I would. Charlie at first se This is between 3 to 4 stars. So let's just meet in the middle: 3.5. This was a touching book. Good writing, good character development. There were times I felt irritated, bored, angry and disappointed. Then the moments of happiness, charm, and love leapt off the pages and my image of the story was redeemed. But some things remain unanswered. So I'm left a little lost. Without those satisfying parts and no stone unturned, I'm compelled to rate it lower than I imagined I would. Charlie at first seems to be the lesser favorite twin. But I learn as the story progresses, this is his own perception, and as he gets older and becomes an adult, he takes to being the martyr rather poorly. Whiskey is no angel either. But I think the view of both these brothers are not equally considered. You learn how much they loved each other and got along well as babies and young boys. But as they grow up and let a trivial thing like a girl impact their relationship as adults, it becomes about Charlie and it gets a little old. His fear and lack of confidence as a man just doesn't weigh much on the validity of it all. We really never get to learn how Whiskey feels about Charlie wholeheartedly as an adult. How the fallout they had is only slightly explained. I felt it was one-sided, only coming from Charlie. At the end I thought there'd be a mutual revelation between them. No, not really. All the other characters were equally important. Juliet was sweet and supportive, patient and loyal. Rosa was a no-nonsense girl and I loved her to bits the minute she was introduced. The end was not unsatisfying, just lacked that extra something.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Well, I'm going to be recommending this one to anyone who is looking for a book to discuss at their book club this month. Charlie Ferns and his twin brother Whisky (William) have been through a lot together. They've grown up as two sides of the same coin- but in Charlie's eyes Whisky has always been the twin who has been better off. Older, taller, cooler, Whisky is both the object of Charlie's admiration and his scorn. And as Whisky spends the better part of the novel in a coma, Charlie's world Well, I'm going to be recommending this one to anyone who is looking for a book to discuss at their book club this month. Charlie Ferns and his twin brother Whisky (William) have been through a lot together. They've grown up as two sides of the same coin- but in Charlie's eyes Whisky has always been the twin who has been better off. Older, taller, cooler, Whisky is both the object of Charlie's admiration and his scorn. And as Whisky spends the better part of the novel in a coma, Charlie's world view is the only one we see. Readers with siblings will identify with the feelings of inadequacy which accompany having attractive, talented and popular siblings and the effects that such thinking can have on family relationships. The novel takes the situation and draws it to an extreme- what if the sibling that you've spent your whole life resenting could be taken away from you?- then asks the reader to consider the consequences. Smith's prose is casual but lyrical, and her use of the phonetic alphabet to structure flashbacks provides an interesting insight into the novel's theme of communication. At times a need to stick to this structuring seems to have lead the writer down some strange pathways- for example the introduction of a character "Mike" who turns out to be the twins' brother, adopted at birth- but suspend your doubt and allow Smith to reward you with her charming and original plot. There are no soap opera histrionics here. I give this book four out of five. Read more reviews at http://www.elimy.blogspot.com

  29. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I did this book a disservice. I kept misplacing it, setting it aside for something else, putting it off until I read something on a "deadline." But, as I do, I finally committed myself to read the darn thing. I was well into it--well!--when I realized what I was reading: an emotional tale of communication, or the heart-gripping lack of it. Then I couldn't let go. I try to act like I have it together but too often I recognized myself in these characters, especially Charlie. Charlie, who won't go I did this book a disservice. I kept misplacing it, setting it aside for something else, putting it off until I read something on a "deadline." But, as I do, I finally committed myself to read the darn thing. I was well into it--well!--when I realized what I was reading: an emotional tale of communication, or the heart-gripping lack of it. Then I couldn't let go. I try to act like I have it together but too often I recognized myself in these characters, especially Charlie. Charlie, who won't go after something because he might lose it one day. Yup. "But if there was one thing Charlie had learned in the last year it was that there was nothing to be gained by hiding feelings, keeping secrets." Besides a book that makes you think and feel at the same time, this is a cleverly crafted story, each chapter title being a word in the phonetic alphabet, in order. Hence, chapters titled "Charlie and "Whiskey." But it works --each chapter relates to its title. In the author interview, she acknowledges that she had to work at it, backtracking when necessary, but she carried it off, by gum. Thank you to my daughter who gifted me with this book; you can put it on your bookshelf now as a "to-read."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Suzy Brookhart

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked the idea of the story and the author's writing style. I thought the relationship between Whiskey and Charlie was fairly realistic. I liked how Charlie finally realized that he had been the one who judged and didn't take the time to try and get to know whiskey. For the first half of the book I thought Charlie was really the jerk. I don't think many of us are introspective enough and quickly judge others faults. He strung his girlfriend on forever, did not confide in her on major events (s I liked the idea of the story and the author's writing style. I thought the relationship between Whiskey and Charlie was fairly realistic. I liked how Charlie finally realized that he had been the one who judged and didn't take the time to try and get to know whiskey. For the first half of the book I thought Charlie was really the jerk. I don't think many of us are introspective enough and quickly judge others faults. He strung his girlfriend on forever, did not confide in her on major events (such as finding out had a step brother) and then chose not to be a sperm donor for is brother and wife because he thought Whiskey was too selfish. Again, I am glad he did look hard at himself and realize he was the selfish one. I think Jullia should have dumped him. Overall it kept my attention but didn't have a lot of "feel good" moments and I didn't love any of the characters.

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