P D Dawson
The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson - A Review
I found the characters in this novel rather irritating and sad. I’m sure it’s an accurate portrayal of some real life people and their circumstances, but none of the characters were very strong, oppressed by the father and husband in the story, or they’re on his side and justifying his behaviour, like Lia, his daughter. Speaking of Ray, he’s a detestable, self-involved and manipulative man and possibly one of the most unlikeable characters I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about. That would be okay if the other characters around him stood up to him, but none of them do, or at least if they do, they quickly revert to passive mode again in order to avoid further conflict. Mostly in the end, they just limply roll over to his wishes and manipulations. As I say, that may be realistic and true to some real-life characters, but I don’t want to read about weak characters. Sure, there was some growth and an emergence of a little backbone in the characters towards the end, but the revolt against Ray was so subtle in the end, that I felt cheated out of any kind of release of the tension created leading up to the novel’s climax. On the positive side, there were definitely some passages and situations in the novel that were well written and suspenseful, and the level of detail and description helped some situations come to life. However, overall the story left me a little cold. The most effective part of the story for me was Lucia’s affair with Priya, a Westminster MP. She was the most convincing character, and without her, the novel would have been all shade and no light.