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With My Lazy Eye

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This remarkable first novel releases the voice of Lucy Bastonme (or Bunty) as she makes her journey through adolescence in 1980s Ireland. Intensely focused, prismatic and delicately nuanced, the internal flight of the narrator finds expression in closely observed snapshots from a family album. At its core With My Lazy Eye is an exploration of father love in which the patri This remarkable first novel releases the voice of Lucy Bastonme (or Bunty) as she makes her journey through adolescence in 1980s Ireland. Intensely focused, prismatic and delicately nuanced, the internal flight of the narrator finds expression in closely observed snapshots from a family album. At its core With My Lazy Eye is an exploration of father love in which the patriarch of a Dublin bourgeois Catholic household becomes ever more elusive and distant and his daughter ever more muddled, myopic and needy. Bunty makes discoveries about her father that free her from the prison and shelter of a protracted childhood. A new vision is won as she steps away from the past towards the light, metamorphosed. This is a quirky, poignant coming-of-age story like no other.


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This remarkable first novel releases the voice of Lucy Bastonme (or Bunty) as she makes her journey through adolescence in 1980s Ireland. Intensely focused, prismatic and delicately nuanced, the internal flight of the narrator finds expression in closely observed snapshots from a family album. At its core With My Lazy Eye is an exploration of father love in which the patri This remarkable first novel releases the voice of Lucy Bastonme (or Bunty) as she makes her journey through adolescence in 1980s Ireland. Intensely focused, prismatic and delicately nuanced, the internal flight of the narrator finds expression in closely observed snapshots from a family album. At its core With My Lazy Eye is an exploration of father love in which the patriarch of a Dublin bourgeois Catholic household becomes ever more elusive and distant and his daughter ever more muddled, myopic and needy. Bunty makes discoveries about her father that free her from the prison and shelter of a protracted childhood. A new vision is won as she steps away from the past towards the light, metamorphosed. This is a quirky, poignant coming-of-age story like no other.

30 review for With My Lazy Eye

  1. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    Dude. What the french fries. This book is just weird and hard to follow and completely random. Also, Lucy is kind of a d*ck. It's basically the coming-of-age story of an Irish brat who constantly shirks responsibility, is horrible to her family, is constantly miserable and throwing tantrums, and lies to get what she wants. Honestly she's just not a nice person. It's also told in such a scattered way that it takes a minute to properly understand what's happened, what's happening, and what has yet to Dude. What the french fries. This book is just weird and hard to follow and completely random. Also, Lucy is kind of a d*ck. It's basically the coming-of-age story of an Irish brat who constantly shirks responsibility, is horrible to her family, is constantly miserable and throwing tantrums, and lies to get what she wants. Honestly she's just not a nice person. It's also told in such a scattered way that it takes a minute to properly understand what's happened, what's happening, and what has yet to happen. (view spoiler)[The dude on the bus took me a bit to figure out coz the box was on his 'knee'? I was thinking, 'what, is he scratching his knee? Does he have an animal at his feet? What is happening right now?' Also, there's a lot of perverted sexual stuff for a story that seems to rush past everything else. (hide spoiler)] I had zero attachment because I couldn't really keep up with the barrage of activity, though I did understand enough to feel sorry for this girl's parents. As someone who has profound respect for my parents I was pretty appalled by the way Lucy acted and that never really changed. I don't understand why there was the whole ordeal of her failing eyesight because even that wasn't really explored enough for me to feel sorry for her. There was no character growth, there was no apparent depth to her and there was no point of redemption. I think it tried to do all those things but the writing was so terrible it never made its mark on me. Also, this is another one of those horrible blurbs that alludes to stuff that doesn't even happen til the last 50 pages or so, so don't hold your breath for the story here. Thankfully it was a short read because my attention span couldn't have lasted much longer with this one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Keith Raffel

    Julia Kelly does a bravura job in making us see the world through the confused eyes of the protagonist Lucy Bastonme. We come to understand how a mixed up family life and domineering father will lead Lucy to a career as a writer--and why she is condemned to be a failure as anything else.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda McKeon

    I am reading this book again having read it when it was first published in 2007, and what a treat it is the second time round too! (There are not many books that I would take the time to read a second time) It is laugh-out-loud funny, with something insightful or beautifully expressed on every page. It's a shame that the e-book had a chick lit cover because chick lit it 'aint. It depresses me when people leave reviews bemoaning the fact that 'nothing ever happened' or 'the writing was too...' This I am reading this book again having read it when it was first published in 2007, and what a treat it is the second time round too! (There are not many books that I would take the time to read a second time) It is laugh-out-loud funny, with something insightful or beautifully expressed on every page. It's a shame that the e-book had a chick lit cover because chick lit it 'aint. It depresses me when people leave reviews bemoaning the fact that 'nothing ever happened' or 'the writing was too...' This is a book about life, told by a master story-teller with a razor sharp intellect. Julia Kelly is definitely my new literary crush...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole van der Elst

    It's very hard to get into the book because the first few chapters are so incomprehensible. I decided to give it go and read on. It's just another coming of age story, nothing extraordinary but not as bad as the first few chapters. It's very hard to get into the book because the first few chapters are so incomprehensible. I decided to give it go and read on. It's just another coming of age story, nothing extraordinary but not as bad as the first few chapters.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hildegunn

    About a girl who can't do anything right, trying to please her father, but failing on all accounts. She basically fails at all attempts at everything in life. Which is funny at first when she is a kid. But as you follow her into adulthood and she shows no signs of managing to do anything right, the story loses its comic streak and tips to tragic and sad. About a girl who can't do anything right, trying to please her father, but failing on all accounts. She basically fails at all attempts at everything in life. Which is funny at first when she is a kid. But as you follow her into adulthood and she shows no signs of managing to do anything right, the story loses its comic streak and tips to tragic and sad.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    This was a bit of let down for me. Lucy as a character drove me to distraction. I felt like shaking her and telling her to grow up. The ending didn’t really make up for putting up with the rather boring story that lead to it. I could see what Kelly was trying to achieve, but for me , it didn’t work. I had to force myself to finish it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trish Feeney

    Could not get into this book at all.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jillwilson

    I’m going to a Rolfer at the moment; it is relevant only in so much that he asked me what I was reading as I was putting my book away before seeing him and I was a bit embarrassed. “Oh, someone gave this to me, my eReader is broken” I mumbled. So, why the embarrassment? This novel has a cheesy chick-lit cover (it's not the one that you see on Good Reads) and while the author can definitely write, she doesn’t quite deliver despite John Banville’s statement on the cover that “Julia Kelly is surely I’m going to a Rolfer at the moment; it is relevant only in so much that he asked me what I was reading as I was putting my book away before seeing him and I was a bit embarrassed. “Oh, someone gave this to me, my eReader is broken” I mumbled. So, why the embarrassment? This novel has a cheesy chick-lit cover (it's not the one that you see on Good Reads) and while the author can definitely write, she doesn’t quite deliver despite John Banville’s statement on the cover that “Julia Kelly is surely the freshest voice in Irish fiction since the wonderful early novels of Edna O’Brien.” The novel is about a young woman stumbling through life but there is something about the tones that discourages reader connection and empathy (in fact it may be an interesting parallel process in that this is the issue that the main character struggles with in terms of her own family and friends). Spoiler Alert ahead. What the main character Lucy most lacks is connection with her father and his approval. So the poignancy of the novel rests with the fact that her father dies and so she is never able to achieve these things. Kelly does manage to convey this; the sense of grief and lost opportunity that comes often with the death of a parent. And in reading reviews of the novel I discover that there are strong autobiographical elements in the novel. The author’s father was the late John Kelly, former attorney General and Fine Gael TD. An interview describes her background: “It can't have been easy being the offspring of a public figure, but Kelly's childhood was happy and carefree. She describes her younger self as a "messer". Julia, naturally shy, always had a desire to live up to her father's expectations.” One reviewer said: “The cover design, too, suggests something light and frothy, yet the first page alerts us to a different kind of writing altogether: full of twists and turns, it never settles, demanding that its focus on detail be rewarded by the reader's full attention.” The writing does not settle, it is clever but self-aware in its imagery so the reader is ultimately too focused on what the writer is doing, and not on what is happening in the novel. And this too rings true for me: “The slightly cutesy tone in which her teenage misdemeanours are confided to us has something much sharper underlying it, which only becomes clear when Lucy experiences the death of her father.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ent...)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marja Kauppinen

    tylsä

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amiee F-C

    Julia Kelly did not impress me in the least. This is sort of a coming-of-age tale written by a South Dublin writer who writes about a South Dublin childhood, and if any of you suspected that the inhabitants of South Dublin were, for the most part, entitled, heartless and cruel, she panders to that but in a way that is depressing, rather than comical (a la Ross O'Carroll Kelly). Her tone changes towards the end of the book, when suddenly her character becomes thoughtful and sympathetic - but I co Julia Kelly did not impress me in the least. This is sort of a coming-of-age tale written by a South Dublin writer who writes about a South Dublin childhood, and if any of you suspected that the inhabitants of South Dublin were, for the most part, entitled, heartless and cruel, she panders to that but in a way that is depressing, rather than comical (a la Ross O'Carroll Kelly). Her tone changes towards the end of the book, when suddenly her character becomes thoughtful and sympathetic - but I couldn't buy it at that point. The protagonist is a teenage girl who has poor vision and is blind in one eye. Her relationship with her father is strained and she is forever making terrible decisions and messing up as she goes along - failing out of college, getting fired from her dream job, destroying her closest friendship, etc. Her father is constantly forced to financially help her out while being forever critical of her and showing his deep disappointment. The protagonist is self-aware enough to share his disappointment as she carries on as a promiscuous, drunken, and unemployable young woman. You get the feeling that Kelly, the author, is as unsympathetic for the protagonist as her father - her portrayal of her is unflattering and it is almost as though she is mocking her throughout the book - in fact at one stage I imagined Kelly drawing inspiration from a classmate she always disliked and using the book to chronicle rumours about this person. Finally many of the 'comical' moments from the book were lifted from popular films - if you've ever seen Parenthood with Steve Martin the vibrator-mistaken-for-flash-light-during-blackout scene is actually in this book! Also a bit where in an Indian restaurant the protagonist mistakes spongy flat bread for a hot towel (I cannot pinpoint what film that was in, but I've seen it). Don't waste you time with this one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marja

    I thought this would be a little distressing yet somehow uplifting coming of age story, but I was wrong. What I got was a disconnected mess of a story with rather unlikable heroine. Lucy's desperate to impress her academically successful father but she never quite manages to do that. Her life lacks direction and her attempts to succeed more or less fail. I found this depressing, Lucy reminded me of myself when I'm in the bouts of self-loathing. When nothing seems to work and nothing's right. I w I thought this would be a little distressing yet somehow uplifting coming of age story, but I was wrong. What I got was a disconnected mess of a story with rather unlikable heroine. Lucy's desperate to impress her academically successful father but she never quite manages to do that. Her life lacks direction and her attempts to succeed more or less fail. I found this depressing, Lucy reminded me of myself when I'm in the bouts of self-loathing. When nothing seems to work and nothing's right. I wasn't a fan of the writing, it was disconnected and incomprehensible and even the funny bits seemed a bit off. Did not enjoy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Louise Jones

    ummm having a lazy summer of reading so this fitted in right in as did not have to concentrate to much on the actual story line although must admit the style of writing was sometimes quite difficult and disjointed! I quite enjoy these type of books of looking back at childhood and just day today life it was quite interesting reading about the eye as have had experience of such things which sadly came back to haunt me but thats another story The ending was a slight surprise and really felt her d ummm having a lazy summer of reading so this fitted in right in as did not have to concentrate to much on the actual story line although must admit the style of writing was sometimes quite difficult and disjointed! I quite enjoy these type of books of looking back at childhood and just day today life it was quite interesting reading about the eye as have had experience of such things which sadly came back to haunt me but thats another story The ending was a slight surprise and really felt her descriptions but on the whole a book easily to forget

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a book that really grew on me. I started out thinking it was chick lit (the e-book cover was incredibly deceptive). I then thought that the author had a gift for description and turns of phrase, but that perhaps the book didn't have a great deal of depth. I wound up thinking the book did have both good writing and depth. This was an excellent debut book by an author who I hope writes more of them. I would certainly read them. This is a book that really grew on me. I started out thinking it was chick lit (the e-book cover was incredibly deceptive). I then thought that the author had a gift for description and turns of phrase, but that perhaps the book didn't have a great deal of depth. I wound up thinking the book did have both good writing and depth. This was an excellent debut book by an author who I hope writes more of them. I would certainly read them.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The story of a girl with poor vision growing up in Dublin in the 70's and 80's. She longs for her father's attention, and ignores her mother's. The story ends just after her twenty-first birthday. An alternative cover tries to push this as chick-lit, which it isn't. A first novel from a writer in her early 40's who likely has many more to come. The story of a girl with poor vision growing up in Dublin in the 70's and 80's. She longs for her father's attention, and ignores her mother's. The story ends just after her twenty-first birthday. An alternative cover tries to push this as chick-lit, which it isn't. A first novel from a writer in her early 40's who likely has many more to come.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jean St.Amand

    The back cover made this sound like a really good story, but I couldn't get more than a couple of chapters in. The story wasn't good, the writing wasn't good. I usually have a VERY hard time NOT finishing a book, but I was glad to put this one in a box for the thrift store. The back cover made this sound like a really good story, but I couldn't get more than a couple of chapters in. The story wasn't good, the writing wasn't good. I usually have a VERY hard time NOT finishing a book, but I was glad to put this one in a box for the thrift store.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine.fowlerhotmail.com

    Dull and easily forgotten!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stefaan Sterck

    f

  18. 4 out of 5

    Päivi

    Mukava aikuistumiskuvaus, vaikka päähenkilön jonkinlainen typeryys jaksoi välillä ihmetyttää.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christine Doran

    Beautifully written, haunting and evocative, especially in the early, childhood chapters. Read it for the language and the atmosphere.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tegan

    well i only got through first chapter and just didnt want to read more... thing is i had been wanting to read it for soooo long

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    First few chapters were incomprehensible, as it went on it got a bit easier to read but overall a very disappointing book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heleen

    Door de bespreking ben ik er anders tegenaan gaan kijken, ben het voor de tweede keer gaan lezen. Zie het praatpapier.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    The blurb promised that Lucy would grow up after a family crisis. The crisis happens after page 200 in a 240 page book. I didn't see evidence of Lucy's improvement in the last pages. The blurb promised that Lucy would grow up after a family crisis. The crisis happens after page 200 in a 240 page book. I didn't see evidence of Lucy's improvement in the last pages.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claire Hennessy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ms H

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Toffeeapple

  28. 4 out of 5

    Krankykitty

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ash

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maha Raja

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