I have just finished my first Jilly Cooper novel. Words cannot express my disappointment. No sex until page 431. What is going on here? Also a cast of characters so vast that they are listed over several pages at the start. There’s a special page for all the animal characters. It’s just as well. “Rowan had a whip round”. Hang on, who’s Rowan, is she Hengist Brett-Taylor’s greyhound or the school secretary? Or is that Brett Hengist-Taylor? Furthermore, never having read any of the Rutshire (Rutshire, honestly, has she no shame) novels, I am less than interested in the fate of Rupert Campbell-Black’s (or should that be Campbell Rupert-Black?) offspring and marriage.
Her characters are largely unashamed tories. I quite enjoyed Hengist saying that he worked in a private school so that he could avoid the dead hand of the “Council of Europe”. If you know nothing about the EU or could conceivably confuse the European Council with the Council of Europe (different, utterly different, trust me here), then this may not provide you with the same amusement value as it did me.
She has, however, some of my prejudices which is always welcome in an author.
Hideous, sandal wearing, doubtless eco-clothing clad, new agey, know it all aggressive breastfeeding character (rejoicing in the unlikely name of Poppet): I know you’re hurting.
Paris Alvaston (equally unlikely name of leading handsome male student): I’m not and hurt is a transitive verb.
I did read it until two in the morning a couple of nights running but that really says more about my lack of self restraint than the entertainment value of this tome.
I am just back from bookclub where we read “Mother’s milk” which I absolutely loathed and all the others loved. I could not abide the main character, Patrick, who whined and whined because he had been disinherited. I could see that it was well written but I couldn’t really get over my desire to shake Patrick and tell him to cop himself on. The others saw his whininess as symptomatic of his upbringing and were fascinated by the wider theme of how unloving mothers can damage their children and whether we are destined to repeat our parents’ errors. Alas for all the nuances I missed. I won’t be rereading all the same.
I have to say Wicked is not Jilly Coopers best offering! I’d give her another chance with Rider – Rivals or Polo. The ones from the 80s -All total trash of course- but really good trash!
I’ve never managed to get through a Jilly Cooper novel – her characters just annoy the hell out of me – your report makes them sound much more amusing than I remember, though, so I might have one last go.
Ah Rupert Campbell-Black! Most of us at the Pony Club had enormous crushes on him (I think I was 13 or so) and we furtively shared the novels Mary mentioned above with relish (I think Riders then Polo are my favourites).
I haven’t read either author. I wonder though if they have more in common than one would think, as Amazon says a key phrase in Mother’s Milk is “f*cking grandmother”.