Book Review – The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything…
Off on holiday? Need an entertaining, yet quick read that won’t tax your head while its in relax mode or overload a slightly woolly brain recovering from too many bahama mammas? Then this is the book for you.
The Girl, The Gold Tooth and Everything by Francine La Sala took a page or two to get going and settle in, but I found myself instantly liking the main character Mina. Mina is 42, lives in a wealthy gated community, has a beautiful husband, a mountain of debt and a mischievous 3-year-old child. She also has a kindly, elderly neighbour named Esther who is her part time child minder and friend. That’s about all Mina knows. She lost her memory and lives day to day trying to find links to her past. The Dr says that no-one should feed Mina information on what happened ‘before’, because that could influence her memories.
The story picks up as Mina starts to get flashes of memories and glimpses of something which was her life before. Mina seems very real, she is flawed, muddled at times and seems to have a nightmare fending off debt collectors and coping with the toils of every day life with a young child, which makes her instantly relatable and real. You want her to find her memory. Her three year old daughter Emma however, is not. I felt the child was placed as a character merely to tie Mina and old Esther together and nothing more. It got to the point that whenever I scanned the page and saw “Monny! Monny!” I skipped straight past her. See past the annoying 3 year old though however and the twists and turns as Mina starts to remember keep you occupied and engaged in the book right the way through.
There is also one character, ‘Chara-tee’ which pretty damn close at times to becoming a hugely generalistic African American stereotype. She is loud, big and sassy, but some of the references on the page seemed pretty clichéd. If this book ever gets made into a movie Queen Latifah would most certainly play her! It was a little uncomfortable to read at certain points to be honest.
The last third of the book is where it all happens. Memories return, characters turn out to be bad when you thought they were good and vice versa (spoiler – Emma remains annoying!). The plot is outrageous and not set in reality at all, quite implausible infact. Which is direct contrast to the normal lives of the characters in the first half of the book. Some revelations made me smile in disbelief, but I enjoyed the ride thoroughly. The writing style almost has a magical, fantastical feel to it which takes you to a completely different place and it becomes a very difficult book to put down.
This book is an easy, entertaining read and if you aren’t looking for the next Shantaram, but something to pop in your hand luggage or read on the commuter train you won’t be disappointed at all.