Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)
I have lived in the Carolinas for nine years and the author of "Lookaway, Lookaway" has captured contemporary history of the Carolinas perfectly. The importance of family history, "the old boy network" and the transition of Charlotte from large city to medium metropolis are depicted with truth and historical honesty. In many ways the writing style and subject matter remind me a bit of Pat Conroy. However, the author spends too much time on unnecessary detail and by the time one gets to the end of a paragraph, the beginning of the passage is forgotten. He also seems to believe that most Southern history descends from out of wedlock children and illicit, immoral lifestyles. On the whole, the book was readable, but not exciting.
Judy K. (Conroe, TX)
Hard for me to finish
I wanted to like this book. It was billed, on the cover, as "A wild romp through the South...". This book was not a romp. Carl Hiaasen writes romps and I love them. This was a tedious story about a dysfunctional family that went on far too long. The book is told from the viewpoint of eleven different characters, most of whom are in the same family. Each character was less likeable than the last until you get to the end of the book and you realize you've read 359 pages about people you despise. There were some funny lines in it, but not enough to make it a book I would recommend to anyone. I say pass on this one.
Nancy H. (Foster City, CA)
I did go home again
I haven't lived in Charlotte since the late '70's but this book immediately took me back to those days and to many characters and character types I grew up with and knew only too well. The powerful archetype of Jerene willing reality to bend her way felt totally real, as did all of the imperfect mortals in orbit around her. Layers and layers and layers of things being other than they seem and oddballs at every turn - wow, I feel like I went home for a holiday! If you enjoy family sagas with strong central characters you'll enjoy this book very much.
Kate (Ogdensburg, NY)
I found this book to be disturbing in so many ways. The women in the book are portrayed as despicable in so many different ways, none of which I found to be humorous. I was reminded of the words of Dan Ackroyd to Jane Curtain on Saturday Night Live where he called her "Jane, you ignorant slut." The author had no better opinion of the men and I found their characters to be at least as unconvincing as the women. The humor did not rise to the level of sophistication of the usual SNL skit and the writing was cliched. The best advice I could give a reader is contained in the title. Lookaway, lookaway.
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)
Maybe I Will Lookaway
I had to press myself to keep reading beyond the first 50 pages at which point it seemed we might never leave the stale frat humor stage. And so far, none of the members of the Johnston family of the Old South, young and old, with their fine old Charlotte manners and illusions of self-importance, had had enough time to endear themselves to me in any way. But I did keep reading and finish the book. Probably what saved Lookaway, Lookaway: Wilton Barnhardt is a good writer and there were enough scenes of interest and conflicts to keep one to want to keep reading. But in the end, I felt I would rather reread Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell which is filled with characters that one could love, hate, fear for and care about.
Steve B. (Spring, TX)
A Tedious Tale of a Dysfunctional Family
The author takes a dysfunctional family and uses them to portray the society they live in as being without social value. This has to be the most depressing novel I have ever read. Sometimes author Barnhardt is apparently writing with tongue in cheek but the overall plot is so dark that I could find no humor in his portrayal. Several times I asked myself why I was torturing myself by reading this long, boring charade and the only explanation I can offer is that I felt obligated to complete it so I could write this review. I'm sure the author really does not appreciate my persistence but maybe my fellow BookBrowse members will
Lynn W. (Calabash, NC)
Love those Southern Families
Once again we have the story of a totally dysfunctional Southern family. The story is set in North Carolina which happens to be where I live and, yes, I think I know some of the characters in the story. Each character had their own set of flaws and some of them were surprising. This is a great beach read.