The Brazilian by Rosie Millard – a very different book!

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This is a romantic comedy for the slightly older person. There is a little romance in terms of people revaluating their priorities, or discovering new ones, and there is the comedy of the making of a reality celebrity programme with people who do not even recognise themselves as stars of tv. It is a confusion of motives, attraction and people’s dreams being upset. In short, not a great literary treat, but an interesting book about what people truly want from a short time in their lives set in a holiday resort. It is a short, quick read, which has a lot of entertainment value.

Jane is a dissatisfied woman who devotes herself to maintaining the body beautiful. She is in a financially secure marriage but has had her flings, has a husband who has had his own scandal, and a son with whom she is bored. For a change of background to her life of few friends and lack of interests, she organises a holiday in Ibiza which is not really that family orientated as she is taking a nanny for George, Belle, who works out how to meet up with her boyfriend, Jas. This beginning of a farce is confused by the filming of a downmarket celebrity show with a tired format in the same part of Ibiza which features neighbours fixated on money to be won. Even the producer of the programmes longs to be somewhere else, filming gritty genuine reality. With inane activities, misunderstandings and Jane’s ambition to get into the tv shows, a competition emerges which is less about surviving the voting and more about creating a fiction of what people truly want from life.

This is a light read, with moments of genuine humour as George, the small son, manages adventure and Belle realizes that a great nightlife is exhausting. Gemma, a slight celebrity emerges as genuinely attached to her unlikely compatriots in adversity and becomes more interesting as she undertakes the reality of ‘reality’ filming. Yes, there is innuendo and ‘sexual content’ but it unsubtle and a cursory theme to a book which is trying to have broad appeal, and probably tries a little too hard. The dynamics of interconnected relationships over a short period of time in a confined space is far more interesting.

If you want a book to read in one sitting which has enough entertainment value to maintain interest and offer some insight into life in the comfortably off British abroad, this will fulfill requirements. It is a jolly read where there is no real peril, no one gets really hurt, and life is a holiday that does not really meet expectations. I found it a different book to review from a copy supplied by Legend Press, who have an admirably mixed list!