Publication Date: 1st February 2013
Stand alone or series: Stand Alone
Pages: 376 pages
Book Received from: Author (Advance Reader Copy)
First Lines: Charlie stood in the hallway of the family home facing his grandpa's bedroom door.
Synopsis: Charlie Lansdowne’s life is going nowhere ... fast. Trapped at home with his eccentric father and his stroke-affected grandfather, he finds life a daily exercise in dysfunction as three generations of men strive to get along. But when Charlie meets the volatile and tempestuous Maxine – a surfer girl who works at the local abattoir – his life goes supernova. Friendships implode, passions ignite and death comes stalking in the night. Set in the seaside country town of Warrnambool, this is a contemporary Australian thriller likened to 'Jasper Jones'
Pulling Down the Stars is very different from the first novel The Taste of Apple which was written in verse. But in saying that this was just as good, if not better. Pulling Down the Stars is told from mainly Charlie and Maxine's POV, but we also get's snippets from Bill, a very unstable and scary Serial Killer, which only adds mystery to the overall story.
Chapter one really does hit you in the face. Charlie is attending to his Grandfather who has suffered a stroke and is very dependant on his son and grandson. One thing I'll say. Nothing gets any more real then this first chapter.
We are then introduced to Maxine. Her chapters start out short and to be quite honest, even reading the beginning of hers you know she is going to prove to be one tough little character. I do love how the book has Maxine's POV as first person but Charlie and Bill's as third. Maxine is at times a difficult character to like but bringing it in to first person really helps get inside her head more. Well that's how I feel. Mind you, by the end of the book I loved all the characters involved, including the less likable ones.
I also love how James has broken up the chapters with subtitles under each. It breaks up the text and makes it easier to read and go back and find things that have really stuck with me.
His writing is real, confident and drips with Aussie culture. Another thing I love! Reading this is like sitting down with mates and having a convo. I really felt like I got to know each character and understood them right to the core.
James also shows a real knowledge when it comes to the character's jobs. Both the hospital and abattoir jobs, I could really picture those characters carrying out their work and with the description it makes the whole scenes within the book really come alive.
The story itself is both kind of harsh and heartfelt. Charlie and Maxine have a lot to deal with but they really do shine towards the end of the book. I can't forget Roger. For someone with nearly full time responsibility for his Father-in-Law, he shows a saint's amount of patience and has proven to be a wise and down to earth character. And Bill, well a bit of a nut job lol but he plays his part in the book!
I do recommend reading this book. While chapter one for me was a little difficult, stick with it because it is an awesome story. And I mean come on, how can you go past the title. Pulling Down the Stars!