No One Comes Close

‘No One Comes Close. A memoir’ by J. A. Newman.

 Drowning in a loveless marriage, Julie fantasizes about finding her lost love, Ron, whom she hasn’t seen for twenty years. She sends him a 40th birthday card which finally reaches him 10,000 miles away in Australia. After three clandestine meetings with Ron in London, Julie is thrown into an emotional affair which makes her examine her motives, her conscience and her principles.

Genre

Memoir/Creative Non-Fiction

Critic Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 7

Design and color palate used for the cover are both simple. Clean design. 

I understand that the leaves falling could symbolize the changing of times and the changing of a character; however, the design doesn't automatically draw attention to it. 

Book Blurb Score: 9

Short and to the point. It introduces the main character and the secondary character which causes her to change. It gives a clear understanding of what is going to happen in the book. 

Formatting Score: 9

I love the idea of formatting the book as if it were a journal. The dates for each entry make it easy to follow along with the timeline without having to question when something took place. 

No overly long paragraph or run on sentences make it easy to read and ensure the reader doesn't get lost. 

Grammar & Spelling Score: 7

A few mistakes were found. See below for those found: 

- "I can't afford be home late". Pg. 30. Missing the word "to". 

- "You OK? Do want to carry on"? Pg. 77. Missing the word "you". 

- I sit opposite Grace but she still finds it difficult open up to me. Pg. 118. Missing the word "to". 

- When I look up she's picking at her food, as if every mouthfuls is a struggle. Pg. 118. Should read as "every mouthful is a struggle". 

- As I clutch the tape to me, my skin prickles with excitement and I my throat constricts. Pg 128. Second "I" not needed. Should read as "and my throat constricts". 

- He wouldn't want me to see me as a snivelling wreck. Pg. 132. First "me" not needed. Should read as "He wouldn't want to see me as a snivelling wreck". 

Plot & Structure Score: 9

Flashbacks are made easy to follow with the fact that the dates are written so there's no questioning what is happening now and what has happened in the past. Nice to have this insight into how the relationship came to be between Julie and Ron, how they progressed and how they ended. Having this really helps in keeping the reader interested to see if things will end up differently between them this time. 

The conflict and the struggle are made very clear within the book. 

I found the transition very smooth. There are no big gaps in the book. Often, events and feelings are written out day by day so it's easy to follow Julie's train of thoughts and how they progress day to day with what's happening in her life. 

Character Development Score: 8

As the book is a memoir, character development is a little different because it's not a character built on the imagination but rather a real person. I will say that it was a little difficult to grasp how Julie could so quickly leave her husband for Ron after not seeing him for 20 years and then only meeting with him three times. It was clear that the love between Julie and her husband Mal was gone, at least for her, but I wish we had a little bit more information on this. Having a background in Ron and Julie's relationship 20 years prior made it clear that she was quite in love with him, but how he treated her and how their relationship faded calls a lot into question about her rash decision made later on. 

Originality Score: 8

This story has been told before. A wife no longer loves her husband and has an old flame re-enter her life which causes it to get turned upside down; however, because this is a memoir and the events and feeling are real, it does give it more of an edge. The thought and emotions felt and the internal struggle felt give this story the original feel because they were actually felt at some point. 

Pacing Score: 8

The story at times goes day by day and allows us to see how Julie is feeling and the struggle that is swarming around her; however, this can cause the story to seem quite slow moving at times as it sounds repetitive.  

Use of Language Score: 9

The language used was simple and clear. It wasn't wordy. No words were used that would cause the reader to look them up in a dictionary to know what they mean. 

Overall Readability Score: 8

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book. I think there would be a lot of people that would be able to easily relate to Julie's story and the emotions that she felt surrounding the events. 

This book received a critic's score of 82 out of 100 possible points.

Rate this Critique:

No votes yet

Curator Evaluation

Cover Design Score: 7

<p>The cover is professionally done and serviceable but lacks punch. To represent the inner journey that the author takes, I would suggest a brighter colour. The blue tones with falling leaves represents a depressed state.</p>

Book Blurb Score: 8

<p>The blurb is to the point and offers insight into what the reader will discover.</p>

Formatting Score: 9

<p>I didn't notice the formatting, which is always a good thing!</p>

Grammar & Spelling Score: 7

<p>There were some issues, mostly where words were left out; these are set out in the critique.</p>

<p>Commas are added where they aren't needed: eg "My sister, Louise, and I had the job of hollowing out the swedes,faces...</p>

<div>
<hr />
<div>
<div><a name="_msocom_1"></a>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

Plot & Structure Score: 7

<p>I like the diary structure but at this times it works against plot because every move in included and this tends to bog down the narrative.&nbsp; The blow by blow descriptions of visiting this pub or that cafe had the effect of removing the tension.</p>

<p>The epilogue, where Julie tells us that she 'remarried on her fortieth birthday' is a jolt. I think it would be good if there was more information here, perhaps how losing Ron allowed her to find love and start her new life.</p>

Character Development Score: 7

<p>We take the journey with Julie and learn a great deal about her and how she comes to understand and accept the loss Ron, not once but twice.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, Ron isn't&nbsp;fleshed out -- I don't&nbsp;understand why Julie invests so much in a life with him. Not when she is a teenager, and not when she is an older woman. I wanted to understand what it was about him that attracted her, but I didn't get a feeling for his good points, only his less than good points.&nbsp;</p>

Originality Score: 8

<p>What is interesting, and I think original, about this memoir, is that it doesn't end happily for Julie and Ron.&nbsp;</p>

Pacing Score: 7

<p>As mentioned above, the narrative becomes bogged down in dogged descriptions of visiting pubs and cafes. I feel as if some of this could be edited out, or summarised then their might be more tension in the narrative.</p>

Use of Language Score: 8

<p>I felt as if I was listening to Julie tell me her story, the language is clear and consistent. My only issue is with some of the dialogue, where names are constantly repeated -- this is jarring and stilted, e.g:</p>

<p>‘Mal’s a good man, Julie<u><a href="#_msocom_1" id="_anchor_1" name="_msoanchor_1">[1]</a>&nbsp;</u>,’ she says in her sympathetic tone. ‘He wouldn’t kick a dead dog in the road, but you mustn’t let that cloud everything. He’ll make his own life when all this has died down. You need to let Ron know how you feel. Write and tell him. He’s frightened, Julie.<u><a href="#_msocom_2" id="_anchor_2" name="_msoanchor_2">[2]</a>&nbsp;</u> He offered you the moon but can’t give you a starlet.’&nbsp;</p>

<p>‘What if I’d stayed and started my own business, do you think it would’ve have helped?’</p>

<p>&nbsp;She looks me straight in the eye. ‘No,’ she says vehemently, ‘it would have been a blow to his pride if you had to keep him.’</p>

<p>I wash and blow-dry Jean’s hair while she tells me her daughter Mandy and her husband have come back from Ireland – he has been offered a good job here in England and they’re trying to find somewhere to live. In the meantime, they’re living with Jean and Jim.</p>

<p>‘I expect they’re finding it difficult, settling back here?’ I ask.</p>

<p>She gives me a sideways look in the mirror. ‘Yes, it’s not easy. We all have our preferences, Julie<u><a href="#_msocom_3" id="_anchor_3" name="_msoanchor_3">[3]</a>&nbsp;</u>. Different characters...&nbsp; but I expect something will turn up. Anyway, you don’t want to hear about someone else’s problems – you’ve got enough of your own!’</p>

<p>This makes me smile. I put the finishing touches to her short blonde hair and spray it.</p>

<p>‘That’s lovely, Julie<u><a href="#_msocom_4" id="_anchor_4" name="_msoanchor_4">[4]</a>&nbsp;</u>. Do you think it could do with a cut next time?’</p>

<div>
<hr />
<div>
<div><a name="_msocom_1"></a>

<p>&nbsp;<a href="#_msoanchor_1">[1]</a>?</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
</div>
</div>

<div>
<div><a name="_msocom_2"></a>

<p>&nbsp;<a href="#_msoanchor_2">[2]</a>?</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
</div>
</div>

<div>
<div><a name="_msocom_3"></a>

<p>&nbsp;<a href="#_msoanchor_3">[3]</a>?</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
</div>
</div>

<div>
<div><a name="_msocom_4"></a>

<p>&nbsp;<a href="#_msoanchor_4">[4]</a>?</p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

Overall Readability Score: 7

<p>Though I struggled with the repetition of what Julie and Ron did on a day to day basis, I did want to discover how their story ended.&nbsp;</p>

This book was curated by KathyMG

This book received a critic's score of 75 out of 100 possible points.

Rate this Curation:

No votes yet