A Graves Undertaking by J. Lesser – My Review


To say I hated this book would be incorrect.  I really enjoyed the story line, the plot moved at a good pace and the situations were interesting and sometimes comical.  I did hate the two primary characters.

First, though, I will tell you that I gave it 4 stars on Amazon because you can’t technically give a 3.5 star review and I really did enjoy the story line.  However, the decision to make it 4 stars was hard.

The story line was a feel-good, can-do, roll up your sleeves expression in literature.  The secondary characters were unique and entertaining, providing more than just punch-lines and dialogue to move the plot along, they provided ambiance and gave you a different perspective of the somewhat odd-ball town.

That’s what I liked…

What I didn’t like was Benjamin Graves (the main character) or his Uncle Bill (the secondary main character?).

Graves reminded me of Bertie Wooster from PG Wodehouse’s Jeeves & Wooster, if Bertie had an ounce of motivation and can-do intelligence.  Unfortunately for Lesser, this was not a good combination in my opinion and I ended up hating Graves (which is bad, because I love Bertie Wooster).  Graves failed to have Wooster’s almost child-like innocence, but had the other trappings.  Now in contrast, Graves grew as a “person” and Wooster most certainly did not, that was why Jeeves existed.

And Uncle Bill was a caricature of old time, wild west cowboys.  I don’t exactly know what Lesser was trying to get across in Uncle Bill, but whatever it was, I missed it.  I found him grating on my nerves after only a few pages.  I kept wondering if Lesser (whose use of British English was spot on) had ever met a modern day cowboy.  If he has and that is what he took from it, I’d like to introduce him to a few more… Because of all the cowboys and farm hands and ranchers I’ve ever met, none were even close to Uncle Bill.  I would go so far as to say that they would have been making fun of Uncle Bill if he had walked onto their real ranches.

Ok, character trashing done… I’ll go back to what I liked.

As I said earlier, I loved the story line.  And I stuck with the book, despite my growing annoyance with the main characters, from beginning to end.  That says more than you can imagine.  I’ll read a bad book, but I’ll also tell you it was a bad book and this wasn’t a bad book.  It had merit and promise.  I will tell you to read it like a comedy.  Go into it expecting something akin to Wodehouse without the innocently daft Bertie Wooster and read it because it’s a good story line.  And if you are a better reader than I, you should be able to find the characters less annoying than me and perhaps even comical.

For the record, I won’t summarize the book.  I figure you can read the back of the book to understand what’s going on and I hate reading book summaries, they ruin the good bits of the book.

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