Book Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Format: Hardback, giveaway prize
Links: Amazon UK | Goodreads
Blurb: This is almost a love story.

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Review: You only have to look on Goodreads for 30 seconds to see the abundance of 5 star reviews for this book. I read Sarah Winman’s, ‘When God Was a Rabbit’ a couple f years ago and it quickly become one of my favourite ever books. Sarah has a beautiful way with words and a real unique storytelling talent. I was thrilled to have won a copy of Tin Man, new newest novel and the copy I won was a gorgeous cloth, hardback version which looks absolutely stunning. This book isn’t even out yet but the lucky advance reviewers are already singing its praises so I really got my hopes up for this one.

Sigh… I’ve been absolutely dreading writing this review because I know so many people will disagree with me . I’m worried I’m going to get stoned to be quite honest because whilst yes, it’s beautifully written and yes, Sarah has a wonderful voice and yes, it covers topics that need to be covered more and sensitive issues that aren’t spoken about in books and yes, it’s bright and vivid – I didn’t like it. I’m not denying it’s a wonderful book. It is. I just personally, didn’t like it. I found it far too whimsical and unbelievable and unrealistically romantic. That’s my first mistake really, I don’t like romance novels. Doh.

A big issue I had with this book was I personally found it was too ‘over described’ . There’s a chapter where the character is in France and hand on heart, I had no idea what I was supposed to be picturing, the setting he was supposed to be in — anything. We’re told place name after place name and people will be like “well why didn’t you look it up and find out what it was“, because I’m reading a fiction book, not doing research into French tourist spots.

The storyline itself, I get what the author was trying to do. I think. I like that it looks at gay relationships and straight relationships and friendships in an entirely different light. some friendships in the book truly were beautiful  and it gives a real intimate insight into the different types of relationships a human being can have and how certain people fit together. I loved that. I loved the idea behind it but the actual storyline… I feel like not much, well, happened. Like yeah, stuff happened. But what was the storyline?

So yeah, I’m going to end this here because I don’t know what else to say; I can’t say this book had much of an impact on me, if any. Unlike When God Was a Rabbit which captured me and wouldn’t let me go. I got it but it really wasn’t for me. The whimsicality, the romance, the elaborate settings – it was all a bit much. And disclaimer: I’m not talking about the gay element of the book, I personally loved that and would want to see that more in contemporary books. Meh, I’m sorry I really wanted to love it! Also, why were there no speech marks throughout the whole damn book?

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman

  1. Well done, Jenny!

    This is a textbook example of how to write a decent critical review. Nobody can like EVERY book, and you HAVE to post your reviews – it’s your raison d’etre.

    Well reasoned, well explained, no personal attacks and good sympathy with what the author was trying to do.

    I haven’t read either of her books, so I am not commenting on them – just on the review. I wish even half of the “one-star-reviews” I read for friends books were half so well described.

    Cheers!

    John (whose first book is out in October)

    • Thanks SO much for this comment, John! It’s actually made my day. I hate, hate, hate it when negative reviews attack authors and/or things which literally have nothing to do with the book itself. It’s supposed to be a book review blog – not an author review blog! I’d never want to be mean and offend anyone either and I think that a well thought out and coherent bad review can actually HELP because it will make others realise what you didn’t like about it but that element might be something that they WILL like, if you get me? A review that just shreds into the author and has no constructive element will just turn people straight off and I’m SURE that’s not what we’re trying to do here? We’re trying to share the love of books; even books we DIDN’T love that someone else might.

    • Aw I’m glad you liked it! I really wanted to. And that’s so true; you always get someone who jumps down your throat though don’t you who doesn’t agree with your negative review. Some people don’t seem to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion!

  2. A very good , honest review which is very nice to see. We’re all allowed to have opinions and not everyone can like every book as that would make the world a very boring place. However even though you didn’t like the book I still think the review is very fair.

    If I was going to recommend a book to you it would be Rebecca by Dauphine Du Maurier. I’m not a fan of romance books like yourself, however I feel like there’s more too it than plain old romance.

    The Girl With Purple Dockers

  3. *raises hand* I don’t like romance novels either! How I get you. Sometimes I *can* like them, but it’s so very rare. I often put myself in a bad position by thinking I’ll surely like this one, cause everyone does, and I overlook the fact that it’s a love story, basically. And then I need to write the review.. Grahhhhh

    • Hahaha I totally feel you there! I knew this was a love story but I kinda forgot? And everyone that’s read is has been saying it’s the most perfect, beautiful book they’ve ever read and I was like uhhhhhh

  4. Pingback: Some current goals: an update | Jenny in Neverland

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