Thursday, September 25, 2008

Review : When We Were Romans

When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale. Nan A. Talese (2008).

When We Were Romans is told from the viewpoint of a nine year-old boy. Kneale's ability to maintain that voice throughout the book is remarkable even if a bit wearing. Lawrence, the narrator, gives the reader a stream of consciousness view into his journey to and adventures in Rome with his mother and younger sister.

I found the writing style tedious. In fact, I'm slightly annoyed with myself for finishing this book. I kept getting frustrated with it all the way through, but kept at it to find out if my hypothesis about this family was right. And, of course, it was. This is not an uplifting, or particularly original, story so don't expect it to be.

Bottom Line: If reading misspelled words and grammatically incorrect sentences drives you crazy, I wouldn't recommend this book for you.


  1. I have this obsessive gene that makes it really difficult to not finish a book I'm reading, even if I am hating it. The style of When We Were Romans didn't bother me (I homeschool a 10 year old, so I'm used to it), but I can see how it would be annoying to a lot of readers.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who wasn't a big fan. LOL

  3. monieg -

    I know! I'd heard nothing but good things about this so was pretty surprised when I began reading.