Cover Image: He is Mine and I Have No Other

He is Mine and I Have No Other

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Member Reviews

This was a brilliant read. As soon as I started reading this book I just knew I was going to love it. Highly recommended

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I must confess that I didn't know if this novel was really my cup of tea, but 'He Is Mine and I Have No Other' was surprisingly engaging and enjoyable.

I felt as though I could completely empathise with Lani, the main character, a teenage girl in 1990s Ireland (brought back a few memories from my own mid-teen years in 1980s England actually!) - and I appreciated that there was much more going on than the surface angsty teen love story.

Rebecca O'Connor writes well about various different family dynamics and relationships and the impact on children of adults actions.

Some might say that the insertion of passages from the perspective of those who died decades ago was unnecessary and detracts from the main plot, but I think it shows much about what has and what hasn't changed in the lives, minds and feelings of young girls and their relationships with others.

All in all a good read, which intrigued me and kept my thoughts turning over what I'd been reading and wondering where the story was going while I was away from the book doing other things.

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There are various strands to this short novel, despite its insubstantial plot. One of these stood out for me - the emotional turmoil of being a teenager falling in love for the first time, the sheer self-absorption of it. Furtive, thrilling encounters followed by heartfelt declarations of love, misunderstandings, bewilderment and wallowing in self-pity. These come across so well here. So too does a teenager’s attraction to things morbid - the dead mother, the tragic fate of the ‘orphan girls’, the illegitimate baby disappeared into adoption. The brief chapters introducing some of the girls in the convent, their backgrounds based on Celia’s research for her book, didn’t really work for me but fed Lani’s fascination so I can understand their inclusion.

By the end I was sufficiently engaged with the main characters to be curious as to how their future lives would unfold and wanting more, but then realised that was missing the point. The novel works as a snapshot of the teenage experience and that’s that. As an aside, I was completely wrong-footed by the relevance of the title of the book, spoken by the more unlikely of the characters and all the more poignant for that.

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*Thank you to the author and NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

3 stars

This was an odd little book, which I wasn't anticipating. Now, don't get me wrong, I am HERE for weird and cryptic storylines... as long as I can eventually make some sense of it in the end and feel there was a purpose to the story or achieve some form of closure when I'm finished.

I didn't get either with this one.

I was intrigued all through this book - nothing really made sense and I was always left unsure of what was going to come next. I love it when books leave me feeling this way. I wanted more, but then the book ended, and I still didn't understand anything and I was left screaming in my head WHAT WAS THE POINT?!

And I did NOT like the main character, Lani. She was a major bitch and an awful friend.

I'm so torn between hating how the book ended so bluntly and with so much being undisclosed, (but my anger towards this does show how much I was enjoying the story!) and thinking that maybe it was for the best...maybe it was more pertinent to the story of Lani and Leon to end like it did.

I have mixed feeling, but the book was mysterious, it was compelling and I did enjoy reading it. I'm just really conflicted with that ending!

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