28 Nov 2016



BACK COVER BLURB (Contains what might be considered spoilers. Simply hi-light the text to view the full synopsis. TT): 'Testing, testing. This is Miriam Delaney. Is anyone out there?'

Miriam hasn't left her house in three years, and cannot raise her voice above a whisper. She still lives in the shadow of her dead mother... But today she has had enough, and is finally ready to rejoin the outside world.

Meanwhile, Ralph has made the mistake of opening a closet door, only to discover that his wife Sadie doesn't love him... And so he decides to leave his home.

Miriam and Ralph's chance meeting in a wood during a summer storm leads to an unusual friendship, and quirky twists. Rachel Elliott's loveable characters confront the hardest things in life with delicious humour and steady courage. Because sometimes, our over-connected world can seem too much for just one person...

FIRST SENTENCE {1: The Superabundant Outside World}:  Miriam Delaney sits at her kitchen table and watches the radio.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 178/79}: The effort of thinking makes him belch again, which seems to release the word from its hiding place. (Imagine what would happen if neuroscientists discovered a connection between semantic memory and burping.

SOURCE: A blog win courtesy of Charlie over at The Worm Hole. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

MY THOUGHTS: Hmm! Trying to make sense of the jumble of thoughts I have about this novel. 

The story of Miriam, Ralph and what happened when they chanced upon each other. 

The formative chapters clever, whimsical and somewhat bleak albeit a bleakness tinged with a subtle and yet dark humour. The latter chapters (and the ending in particular) .... perplexing and ultimately unsatisfying. 

A book I have thought lots about since reading it. It's just a shame that it hasn't clarified my thoughts on just how to rate it, hence what I, in this instance, consider my 'default' rating of 'It was Ok'.

Perhaps there was simply too much going on. Miriam's relationship with her mother, her neighbour and Ralph. Ralph's relationship with his wife, Sadie, their sons and Miriam. Sadie's relationship with Ralph, Twitter (alas I found her 'tweets' intensely distracting) and her friend(s)-come-possible-love interest(s). The list goes on.

Perhaps the author invested too much of her background as a psychotherapist. I certainly felt increasingly irritated by what felt like her conclusion that 'this' is what happens when a child is raised by a mentally unstable parent. 

What I do know is that not all of the characters behaviour was plausible (but then that's humans and poetical licence for you). That sometimes, and I know this is going to sound rather strange, for all her mental instability, it was Miriam's mother's behaviour that made more sense, was more believable than that of some of the other characters. That come the end of the book I was left with a strong feeling that I had missed something essential, something that would have made sense of the ending.

Each to their own. Effectively whilst there was much to recommend Whispers Through The Megaphone - not least of which was the sense of hope that prevailed throughout - ultimately it wasn't altogether a read for me.


Gina said...

Wow, it does sound to be a rather jumbled mix of many things. I can see where you'd be confused and I didn't even read it! Thanks for the share, but I'm afraid it doesn't sound like a match for me. Better luck next read!

Natasha said...

Hmmm, this one does sound interesting so I'll have to keep an eye out for it if I spot it in the library, but I can see why you'd be a bit perplexed by it if the story is a jumble of things. I've read a few of those books with a similar concept before and I alway feel like less is more. Thanks for keeping it spoiler free too! - Tasha

Kelly said...

This sounds a bit confusing and probably more than my muddled brain of late can focus on. Though I will say books that leave you thinking about them long after the fact can't be all bad.

Off now to read Charlie's thoughts on it...

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Actually about the mom, it does sound plausible. I've read books that the most outrageous behavior made more sense. I've also read those that the mentally unstable one actually sounded more sane than the other characters... so it does happen. :)

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

Like your other commenters, I am having real trouble unravelling the whys and wherefores of this story and to some degree the many reviews which have been posted about it.

Bloggers are quite openly admitting that their reviews are more of a series of jumbled thoughts, rather than any cohesive comments about what I am sure was intended to be a very serious storyline. Even the memorable moment you shared left me 'shaken rather than stirred' and not sure what to think!

I always try to support local to me authors and Rachel does live in Bath, however I'm afraid that on this occasion I won't be adding this one to my TBR pile.

Thanks for your usual total honesty in a review, I always appreciate that :)


Literary Feline said...

This book does sound like it has a lot going on. I do like the sound of it though and may have to give it a try.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I hadn't heard of this one! Sorry it's leaving you a bit perplexed. It does seem like too much might be happening.

Suko said...


Thanks again for your honest, well-written words. I am not sure what to think of this book. I read the full synopsis and it sounds promising, but it seems to have left you wanting more.

Brian Joseph said...

The book sounds interesting though perhaps a little shallow.

The psychiatry angle is intriguing. Folks into the nature verses nurture debate might sink their teeth into this one.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I'm thinking this would be a good choice for a book group so that a discussion might bring better understanding. Not sure I'd read it on my own because of your issues with it. Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Ellis said...

It sounds like all the relationship issues going on makes it hard to focus on any one thing. Sometimes less is more.

Yanting Gueh said...

Doesn't sound like what I'd like to pick up either. Nevertheless, thanks for letting us know about this book!

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

On the Twitter sections being distracting, you've got me thinking - is it some sort of unspoken point that it *should* be distracting because that's the effect it has on Sadie? (Am I over-thinking this!...) It is a difficult book to rate; it sort of fits a trend, atmosphere in books at the moment, but there are things that could be called contradictory in it because of that.

DMS said...

Sounds like this book has made you think a lot, but I am sorry it wasn't more to your liking. I hadn't heard of this one- but the title, the other comments on the post, and your description have me curious about it. Thanks for sharing.