September 7, 2008

Review: When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale



Narrated in the voice of nine-year-old Lawrence, the story begins when his mother, Hanna, becomes convinced that their estranged father is stalking them. Hanna packs up the car and the family sets off on a trip from their home in London to Rome.

Once in Rome, the city where Hanna lived as a young woman, the family bounces from friend to friend quickly overstaying their welcome in each place. Then just when it seems that they’ve found a place to call their own the unthinkable has happened and trouble begins again.

Initially it was hard to get past the misspelled words and grammatical errors from the story being told by Lawrence but I kept reading and the storyline dragged along until midway through. Just at the point when I was about to throw in the towel and move on the book picked up the pace and the story came alive. Then it came to a screeching halt again with the ending. Saying anymore would be letting out a spoiler so I’ll just say that the ending left me asking too many questions for this to be a satisfying read.