Mr Loverman was a perfect start to reading this year. Very entertaining, mischievous genuinely funny and so easy to read.
Barry is a very dapper 74 old Antiguan who lives in Hackney with his church- devoted wife Carmel. His wife suspects he is cheating but would never had guessed the whole truth… Barry has been in love with his best friend Morris since his teens! Add some spoiled grown up daughters and a sly teen grandson in to the mix and you’ve really got a story!
Morris and Barry’s relationship is so endearing, they seem perfectly matched. I enjoyed how individual they were. Loved the difference between how Barry perceives their relationship (he’s Barrysexual, doesn’t drink white wine, it’s for ladies)vs how Morris perceives it (wants to get married, be open)
I felt so frustrated for Carmel though and as the book progresses, you discover this is just as much her story. It was great that her character was just as alive- in a different way. Importantly, you see both their misgivings in marriage.
We see how Morris and Barry have dealt with the homophobia in their community and church. How perceptions could possibly be evolving through next generations in Maxine and Daniel.
We learn of the challenges faced by older Caribbean immigrants in the UK, about social mobility, about generational culture differences. Even about post natal depression. The themes are actually quite heavy but the delivery is so light, so well done
I loved the wealth of backstory that older protagonist brought to the narrative, I would like to see more of this perspective. A book that immediately comes to mind is Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun which has been recommended to me a number of times
What I loved most about this book were the characters! They are all flawed, not an angel in sight but also- no demons. The books are very different but what Mr Loverman did have in common with Girl, Woman, Other is that the characters are very much the drivers of the story. The people are very real. All so convincingly written that by the end, I really felt I knew them. Even when not likeable, they’re all interesting and seem familiar somehow. I love that they all got an ending.
Family being so well written was also wonderful to read. I enjoyed the dynamics between siblings and parents. Love the daughter trying to get her mother to change her flowery living room with plastic covered sofas to trendy habitat furniture and plainer walls.
We should really take a minute for Barry’s character! He is so well developed, from his sense of humour to his juuust excusable cockiness. I don’t think I’ve read a voice that consistent in tone and persona in a long time
He’s not a character I will forget anytime soon
Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo published by Hamish Hamilton (Penguin Books) 2013