Review: Alison Wonderland
At times weird, at times wonderful might be an apt way to describe Helen Smith’s novel. The story focuses on Alison Temple who hires a private investigator to prove her husband is being unfaithful to her. When her suspicions are confirmed she not only leaves her husband but decides to work for the agency she hired to help her. As a PI and using the name Alison begins with simple assignments of checking on the monogamy of accused husbands but her work takes her into some strange places and the novels cast of bizarre characters each have their own part to play.
Alison follows one husband, suspecting an illicit liaison and stumbles upon activities involving the genetic modification of animals. Following a series of mix-ups Alison is in the middle of being investigated herself with her pursuers believing she is a dangerous activist. Alison’s personal life is no less complicated. Her postman is psychic, the neighbour Jeff is in lover with her, while her best friend Taron believes her mother is a witch and she becomes fixated on acquiring a child for herself, even going so far as to drag Alison to the coast on peculiar adventures. There is a lot going on and the novel jumps around a lot to visit these many threads.
I found Alison Wonderland to be a decent enough read. It’s well-written in places with some amusing moments but such is the array of characters and viewpoints that it is not always easy to keep track of what is happening. This is one of those books that many readers will love and others may struggle with. Smith has come up with some quirky and often memorable characters though some scenes are very strange indeed, one in particular I’d like to mention but I wouldn’t want to spoil it.
Alison Wonderland is a fun read but the range of characters and side stories hinder the narrative somewhat. Smith’s characters are a memorable bunch but I do think readers will be divided with the book
(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)