The Last of the Bowmans by J. Paul Henderson Book Review

Sunday, 11 August 2019


Title: The Last of the Bowmans
Author: J. Paul Henderson
Publisher: Oldcastle Books Ltd
Pages: 288
Publication date: 21st January 2016
Genre: Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction

I absolutely hate writing negative book reviews for two reasons, the first being that it means I've wasted my time reading a shit book, the other being I hate coming across as negative and unappreciative of a book because authors work their busy little fingertips off writing books that they are incredibly proud of, and then in comes me, ready to shit all over it.

But there's no easy or polite way to write about a book you really didn't enjoy, and The Last Of The Bowmans by J. Paul Henderson was unfortunately for me, one of those books.

The blurb;

"After an absence of seven years, Greg Bowman returns home from America to find his father lying in a bamboo coffin, his estranged brother Billy stalking a woman with no feet, and his 79 year-old Uncle Frank planning to rob a bank. While renovating the family house, he is unexpectedly visited by the presence of his dead father and charged with the task of 'fixing' the family. In the course of his reluctant investigations, Greg discovers an unsettling secret of his father's, and one that brings him face to face with the consequences of his own past."

I picked this up thinking it sounded like an interesting concept and nothing like I have in my collection. I was in the mood for something light-hearted and easy to read and this sounded like the perfect fit.

First off, it took me SO long to get through this book despite it being less than 300 pages. I started reading it and then life got a little crazy and I struggled to find the time to read. It became quickly apparent from the beginning that this book wasn't my cup of tea, which meant that when I did find a bit of spare time to read, I didn't immediately rush to pick up this book.

It was too long winded and the first half of the book is a bit of a slow burner. It's only around the half way point that anything actually even really happens, and when anything remotely interesting does happen, it's too far fetched to be believable.

The characters are completely unrelatable and act in a way that isn't in the slightest bit believable. They do and say things that are so unrealistic that it's hard to get to grips with them. Jean is far too bitter, Uncle Frank is too grumpy even for a grumpy old man, Billy is hiding a secret that is too unrealistic and so far fetched that it's gone past the point of being funny, Lyle acts too weird even for a dead person (like appearing in his deceased wife's dresses and ball gowns with no real explanation as to why) and Greg doesn't seem overly shocked about any of these revelations.

The dialog is too forced and not realistic at all, and there's a LOT of dialogue. The book comes across as trying too hard to be quirky and relevant when actually, it could have been a very fun and interesting read had the characters and storyline not been so forced and so beyond belief.

The story just didn't take me anywhere. I wasn't invested in the plot or the characters. I couldn't relate to anything the characters did or had done, which made it hard for me to warrant investing in this story.

I will say, however, that the last chapter of the book (they are really long chapters) does redeem itself very narrowly and the book ended on a much lighter, nicer note than all the chapters previous to it.

I often base my reviews on if I would genuinely recommend the books to friends and family, and in this case, the answer is simply no.

Verdict: ★★

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