Review: The Good, The Bad and the Little Bit Stupid by Marina Lewycka

The Good, The Bad and the Little Bit Stupid

The Good, the Bad, and the Little Bit Stupid is a short, pacey read. Like Marina Lewycka’s other books, seemingly ordinary domestic events - in this case, a man (George) having a late-life crisis where he has an affair with a neighbour (Brenda), leaves his wife (Rosie), and falls for a cyber scam - lead to much more, snowballing into an out-of-control situation where several characters end up in a shoot-out on an island off Albania.

As is her trademark, Lewycka provides lots of amusing observations on the absurdity of 21st-century life and there are some real laugh-out-loud moments. She also makes good points about how people cling harder to their beliefs when presented with contrary facts, and how Britain seems to be irreconcilably divided as a result of the Brexit referendum. While most of the characters have stereotypes at their base, I nonetheless was able to sympathise with and relate to the neurotic, unfulfilled Millennial characters Sid and Cassie, and recognised elements of Boomers I know in Rosie in particular.

There were times where I felt events were handled a little too light-heartedly; the characters seem relatively unscathed by their terrifying ordeal, and there are a couple of jarring minor events I feel served little purpose and could have been edited out to make a smoother and more cohesive whole. I couldn’t fathom what Rosie and Brenda saw in George, especially after his stupidity nearly got them killed - perhaps, like her Brexiteer neighbour, Rosie is immune to evidence that George isn’t that great! I also found the use of present tense and the usually short chapters that facilitated frequent changes of point of view a bit dizzying sometimes.

Although The Good, the Bad, and the Little Bit Stupid isn’t my favourite book from this author, it nonetheless contains the elements of her writing that I love, and if you’re looking for a quick, light-hearted read, you can’t really go wrong by giving it a go.

The Good, The Bad and the Little Bit Stupid is published by Penguin on 5 March 2020.

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About Alice Violett

Reader of books, player of board games, lover of cats, editor of web content, haver of PhD.

Colchester, UK