A Blue Room Book Review – Pictures of You – Caroline Leavitt


Nice. Nice is a word I notionally dislike – along with lot(s), got and thing(s). At the start of each school year, when I listed the rules for the oncoming terms to my treasures, there was always a stipulation to the students not to use these words in their creative writing:-
‘What’s wrong with them Mr L? I say them all the time,’ someone would undoubtedly cry.
‘My point exactly. We are programmed to use them in our speech and that’s fine. Use them the same amount in your written work and reading it becomes extremely boring. And Mr L hates being bored! If you use those words I’ll underline them all in nasty red ink, do a lot of frowning and that will not be a nice thing for you. Got it?’

Of course for the average to below average client it was water off a duck’s back and they still did it till the cows came home – you see, I taught in a rural school – but with them I turned a blind eye. But if those with a modicum, or more, of flair did so I kept my word and they soon received the message – with resulting improvement in their creative efforts. Similarly I forbade them starting a sentence with ‘And then I….’ as well as ending their masterpiece with ‘And then I woke up and it was only a dream.’

But for this book – well nice is the best word for it – it’s a nice, nice, nice read. Bookended by weightier, more worthy tomes, it was a salve to have such a nice, light read. Leavitt’s writing flows seamlessly from page to page, chapter to chapter; has a straight forward, easy to handle structure and it all wraps up satisfactorily – if perhaps not quite how the true romantics amongst us would have preferred. The narrative swirls around a most unlikely relationship forming between the two main protagonists. If the bliss and traps of following one’s heart is your ‘thing‘, then this is just the ticket. I enjoyed it immensely.

Another factor that attracted me to the book in the first place was that it also dealt with the addictiveness of one of my own favourite pastimes – photography. Therefore it had two of my passions covered. It’s not great literature, but its not Sparksian either – it is simply just, well – nice.

The book dates from 2011 so I suspect there may soon be a new publication from Ms Leavitt – so if it is as nice as ‘Pictures of You’ I’d be keen to read it as well when I wanted a respite from the heavier stuff – not to mention her back catalogue. Now on to those weightier and presumably worthier tomes waiting for me in a pile beside my bed!


Ms Leavitt’s website = http://www.carolineleavitt.com/home.htm

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