Lovereading Reader Review: Ostrich; Matt Greene

I received a review copy from Lovereading of Ostrich, a debut novel by Matt Greene, which hits bookshops in the UK in September. 

Ostrich promised to be a coming of age tale in a similar vein to The Fault in Our Stars– which I have read very recently myself- and other readers have compared it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which I loved and have re-read many times. It was said to appeal to both late teens and adults, so I was really keen to read it. 

It started off fairly promisingly with a pretty witty child narrator- and then after a while, I’m not sure if it was me here or what- I just didn’t find it interesting and it became a bit of a chore to continue reading. It’s character-driven rather than plot-driven sure, but I still failed to engage with the characters.  I wanted to love Ostrich but I didn’t. It bored me. 

I’m so apathetic towards this novel that I can’t even be bothered to edit my own summary, so for laziness sake, here is the blurb from Goodreads: 

This is Alex’s story. But he doesn’t know exactly what it’s about yet, so you probably shouldn’t either.
Instead, here are some things that it’s sort of about (but not really):
It’s sort of (but not really) about brain surgery.
It’s sort of (but not really) about a hamster named Jaws 2 (after the original Jaws (who died), not the movie
Jaws 2).
It’s sort of (but actually quite a lot) about Alex’s parents.
It’s sort of (but not really) about feeling ostrichized (which is a better word for excluded (because ostriches can’t fly so they often feel left out)).
It’s sort of (but not really (but actually, the more you think about it, kind of a lot)) about empathy (which is like sympathy only better), and also love and trust and fate and time and quantum mechanics and friendship and exams and growing up.
And it’s also sort of about courage. Because sometimes it actually takes quite a lot of it to bury your head in the sand.

Regrettably (and you won’t be surprised here after the decidedly lax info above), I just couldn’t finish this book. It was unable to hold my attention and I found it a pretty dull read, unfortunately, with the narrative jumping all over the place and far too many parentheses. I got 70% of the way through and I had to give up, which is something I hate doing, especially with a review copy- but that’s life I guess. You either like a book or you don’t. Consequently, I had to rate this 1 out of 5 and I haven’t added it to my Books Read in 2013 list either (obv).

I’m pretty sure some other reviewers loved this book however, so you can ultimately read what I (and other Lovereading readers) thought of Ostrich here for a more balanced view. 

Thanks to Lovereading and Weidenfeld & Nicolson Publishers for the review opportunity.


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