ARC Review | The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

Adam Sharp’s best = just ok for me. 3/5 stars.


Thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for giving me an e-copy of this book.

The Best of Adam Sharp will be published in the UK this Thursday, 9th February.

The blurb: Can you define your life by a single song? Adam Sharp – former pianist in a hip Melbourne bar, now a respectable IT consultant in Norwich – can. And it’s ‘You’re Going to Lose that Girl’…

On the cusp of fifty and a happy introvert, Adam is content. He’s the music expert at his local pub-quiz and he and his partner Claire rumble along. Life may not be rock n’ roll, but neither is it easy listening. Yet something has always felt off-key.

And that’s his nostalgia for what might have been, his blazing affair – more than twenty years ago, on the other side of the world – with Angelina Brown, a smart and sexy, strong-willed actress who taught him for the first time, as he played piano and she sang, what it meant to find – and then lose – love. How different might his life be if he hadn’t let her walk away?

Then, out of nowhere, Angelina gets in touch. Adam has sung about second chances, but does he have the courage to believe in them?

My take:

I was delighted to get approved for an ARC of The Best of Adam Sharp as I’ve only heard good things about Graeme Simsion’s other books: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. Unfortunately, although it’s well-written, I didn’t like this book as much as I’d hoped I would.

For me, the heart of the problem is Adam, who is the first-person narrator. Sadly, I failed to connect with Adam in any way and it made getting into and through the book hard work. I found it difficult to sympathize with him because, as far as I could see, the man had no real problems. And the ones he did have seemed to be entirely of his own making and inability or unwillingness to do anything to fix them.

And then there’s Adam’s narrative voice: I thought it was bland and detached. Even when some of the scenes Adam’s describing contain some pretty racy content, he might as well be narrating a shopping list for all the drama his voice manages to convey.

I didn’t buy into the central romantic relationship either, mostly because Angelina – the love of Adam’s life – comes across as selfish, immature, spoilt and unworthy of anyone’s attentions.

I appreciate the effort the author has put into making music central to his characters’ lives. Adam is quite a shut-off person who finds it hard to express himself, and music gives him a way to do this. I imagine that if you are familiar with all the music in this book and love it, you will be able to connect with Adam and his experiences far more than I did.

Overall: The Best of Adam Sharp is well-written, and a lot of thought has gone into the choice of music and its use as a sort of emotional shorthand, which is why I’m giving it three stars even though I didn’t have much fun reading it. As I say, I think readers who have a love for the particular playlist used in this novel (which is listed at the end of the book) will have a more positive reading experience.

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

13 thoughts on “ARC Review | The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

    • I thought the use of music was a great idea – I just wish I knew more of it! I do think that those who share the characters’ taste in music, or who are more familiar with it, will enjoy this book more. The author clearly put a lot of work into making it a crucial part of the story and characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Just imagine a whole novel written around an interesting playlist! I know many songs can highly appeal to your particular Emotional quotient! Some songs can be the picture of your life! First time I read about going through a written book, with a song in your head!

    Liked by 1 person

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