Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pulling Down The Stars by James Laidler

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 1st February 2013
Pages: 376
Book Source: From author for review

Synopsis:  Charlie Lansdowne’s life is going nowhere ... fast. 

Trapped at home with his eccentric father and his stroke-affected grandfather, he finds life a daily exercise in dysfunction as three generations of men strive to get along.  But when Charlie meets the volatile and tempestuous Maxine – a surfer girl who works at the local abattoir – his life goes supernova. Friendships implode, passions ignite and death comes stalking in the night. 

My Thoughts:
I read James Laidler's free verse novel The Taste Of Apple in 2011 and loved it so when James asked if I'd be interested in reading his latest novel I jumped at the chance. Set in the Australian seaside town of Warrnambool, Pulling Down The Stars has a standard narrative with smatterings of song lyrics and poems but there's nothing standard about the poignant and powerful lyrical style I first fell in love with in The Taste Of Apple. 

I liked the fact that Charlie and Max (Maxine) were outside the norm of YA fiction  protagonists; Charlie with a nursing position in a psychiatric ward, living with his father Roger (who's an absolute gem) and his stroke-effected grandfather Frank, and Max, a surfing abattoir worker.

No insta-love for Charlie and Max, (phew) I loved the way their romance developed, like them - a little left-field but relatable and very likeable. Actually James 'does' characterisation brilliantly, you really get a feel for the characters, even the minor players. 

I wanted to keep this short but just have to mention these two things: 
  • I never thought I'd say this but as gag-worthy as I find abbatoirs, I was completely fascinated by the descriptions of the different stations at the Carrington Meats. 
  • For me, the 'thriller' element was a peripheral subplot that neither added nor detracted from the story ... it just ... was.   

Pulling Down The Stars is a beautiful, quirky story revealing love in all its facets and highlighting 'family' can encompass and mean many things. There's just something very addictive about James Laidler's writing, I could seriously read it all day! 

Check out James Laidler's website for more information about this talented Australian author. 


  1. This sounds really good! Will have to check it out!!

  2. This one sounds amazing and one that really gets to a person. I like it when an author lets a relationship really develop!

    1. I think you'd really appreciate Jame's writing style Staci :)

  3. I'll be adding this one to my 'to-read' list Teddyree, it sounds like something I'm in the mood for.

    Can I admit to something that's probably really embarrassing....I rarely (if ever) these day spick up books written by male authors. In my younger days I was a huge Stephen King and John Grishham reader. .

    I was only thinking recently that I need to get back into reading some male author's works. Might just start with this one

    1. I'll be keen to see what you think Karen. Lucky I loved The Taste of Apple so much, I could have missed out on an awesome author :)


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