Reader reviews and comments on Sweet Tooth, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Sweet Tooth

A Novel

by Ian McEwan

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan X
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2012, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2013, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Page 1 of 1
There are currently 2 reader reviews for Sweet Tooth
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Power Reviewer
Cloggie Downunder

brilliant
Sweet Tooth is the 14th book by British author, Ian McEwan. Serena Frome’s story is narrated in detail essentially from the time she first gets involved with the man who will usher her into a position in MI5, in the early 70’s Britain. Serena is a compulsive reader of fiction and her first “secret mission” is to cultivate promising young author, Tom Haley. Their mutual attraction ensures they step beyond the boundaries set by her superiors, and before long, things start to unravel. While a working knowledge of British politics of the seventies plays would enhance the enjoyment of this novel, it is not requisite. McEwan presents the reader with a delicious irony when Serena tells us she distrusts any kind of fictional trick, something of which McEwan is a master. Once again, he fools the reader but, whereas I felt cheated by it in Atonement, this time I revelled in it. The end has the reader wondering: just whose words are we actually reading? The answer is very simple: those of a brilliant novelist.
Power Reviewer
Becky H

The spy story that isn't
In Sweet Tooth Ian McEwan has used lots of lovely words and strung them together in lots of lovely ways. Unfortunately this does not make a lovely story. It is in many ways a deadly bore. To say that Sweet Tooth is tedious is an understatement. There are too many incidental characters and incidents that have no relevance to the story as red herring or plot line or character development. Perhaps what McEwan really wrote was a very good short story when what he (or his publisher) wanted was a novel. Is the writing good? Yes. Does that make me like this book? No. I finished the book, but I didn’t enjoy it. This is the first Ian McEwan book I have read. I doubt I will read another.
This novel may have been a very good short mystery or short romance. It just doesn’t work as a longer novel. The main character – Serena Fromme – is, to put it quite bluntly, an unlikeable twit. Unfortunately for the reader she is surrounded by more unlikeable twits, self-absorbed males, pompous asses and other assorted denizens of Cold War London. Unlike Serena I actually enjoy the process of reading. I like to savor the characters, imagine the outcome of the plot, thrill at the word usage and become involved with the unfolding of the story. The one character I DID like was Shirley. I wanted to know more about her – why she left MI5, how she came to become a successful beauty, why she made such a generous offer to Serena, her interactions with Max and Tom….. Yet Shirley was given little to do except tie up loose ends in a most unsatisfactory manner.
I found some of the structural parts of the book to be annoying. First I HATED the occasional italic phrases. They were simply a distraction. I also found the insertion of Tom’s current works annoying. They were too long and detailed. Although both of these were explained in the last chapter, it did not help me in the actual reading enjoyment of the book.
I have thought about recommending Sweet Tooth to another. First, no one should ever recommend a book without first reading it cover to cover. In recommending this book I would feel compelled to state why I didn’t like it. Secondly, I would only recommend this book to someone who was also a voracious reader and one who was willing to devote many pages before disbanding reading. Thirdly, I would NOT say this was a spy novel, or a romance, but instead present Sweet Tooth as a demonstration of literary devices.
I might toss Sweet Tooth into the mix of possible book group choices (we usually choose our 10-12 books from a group of 20-24 books recommended by members who have already read them). We have chosen books in the past that were only lukewarm in their recommendation. It often makes an interesting discussion as members tell why and what they didn’t like and how they might have changed the book.
  • Page
  • 1

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Death of No Importance
    A Death of No Importance
    by Mariah Fredericks
    Bringing the reader deep into the intrigue and privilege of the most elite boudoirs, A Death of No ...
  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.