A family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.


Book Review: The Tall Tale of Maxwell Anderson by Steve Joyce.

I love a good book, from thrillers to romantic comedies I'm pretty open to genres. When I was offered the chance to review The Tall Taleof Maxwell Anderson by Steve Joyce, a book about being different and how society can turn upon people in the most desperate of times.
The story follows Maxwell Anderson, from his birth until he reaches the age of 13. Maxwell comes into this world as a tiny baby, too tiny in fact, and he shows no sign of growing. When a doctor offers to trial an experimental drug to help boost his growth, Maxwell's father has no choice but to agree to it. When Maxwell begins to shoot up in height at an alarming rate, their lives tumble out of control…

I am slightly conflicted with my review for this book, it's such a difficult one to write about because I love certain things about it and I also think some things could be improved. But, before I go into detail, I will say I think it's a book well worth the read if you're happy to overlook a couple of things…
I'll start off by saying I think the concept of the story is great. I love stories that show society's good and bad side, the corrupt nature of humanity wanting to own and control someone who is different. I love stories that challenge the 'norm', so having a child growing to over 6 foot and seeing how the world relates to him, that's interesting to me as a reader.
I also loved how each chapter was nice and concise, it suits my lifestyle to have short chapters, and my reading style. It breaks it up and helps me read it in bite size chunks in between the mania that is my life!
My criticisms lie in a few areas, the first being the dialogue. I am not particularly boastful of my own dialogue writing, but I know what I like to read if that makes sense? The writing itself is good, includes lots of detail and is well constructed, but I sometimes found the dialogue to be a little unrealistic.
Also, there were times when I genuinely thought the characters just wouldn't interact in this way, and there were also times when the story veered into sexual content ad it just felt a little unnatural within the book itself. I was also a bit sceptical with the connection between home education and poor social skills, but as time went on it was clear to see Maxwell only saw a handful of people ever in his lifetime, a completely different scenario from home educated children.
Overall I did enjoy the writing, despite the few areas of uncertainty. There's a strong voice within this story, Joyce offers a brutal portrayal of the world we live in today and I am glad I had chance to read it.
I think this story holds a lot within it, from questioning our own judgements to accepting our differences and living in peace. They say people fear the things they don't understand, and I think this book shows this in abundance. I found the ending very upsetting, which surprised me really, and I'm not sure I feel enough emotion was given into the character of Maxwell's father during the final chapters.
I think the book has been left open for a sequel, and I'd love to read it. I just hope the dialogue and characterisations are a little stronger and more heartfelt.
All in all this is an interesting, heart-wrenching and shocking example of what the world is capable of.

Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

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