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Posted October 28, 2011
5 Weeks is the story of a single mother named Annie and how she deals with having to face the love of her life (and father of her child) at her best friends wedding. Complicating matters is the fact that the man, Tom, does not know about the existence of his son, a budding relationship with another man, and Annie's propensity to get into ridiculous situations.
This book was written by a British author and, as an American reader, there are several ways that this impacts the reading of the story. First, and perhaps most obviously, is the fact that there is an added set of vocabulary in British English that American English does not have. Some of them are words that may be known to the American reader (such as fag for cigarette), but some of them may not be, depending on the particular reader of course. For the most part, context clues allowed for understanding, and even the one or two times that it did not, the lack of understanding of the one word did not seem to impact the story. Secondly, there are spelling differences between British English and American English. For some people, this won't be an issue in any way. For others, however, it can be a distraction. There are even words that seem to be misspelled regardless of which version of English is being used, however, I do not have a total knowledge of British English and I could be wrong on this count. British English and American English may be more separate than I previously realized.
Finally, there's the punctuation. I am uncertain whether this is another difference between British and American English, whether it's a writing style, or whether it's simply poor punctuation and/or editing skills. However, there is, at the very least, a wide-variety of places where commas are used and there is no reason for it, making me fairly confident that those, at least, should be fixed. The remainder of them-and there are a lot-create run-on sentences that give the book a "stream-of-consciousness" feeling, which fits Annie-the main character-quite well, if you can get used to it. As a personal preference, I would rather have had fewer run-on sentences, however, "incorrect" use of punctuation happens to be a personal pet peeve of mine. For those readers who are less concerned with punctuation, it will likely be fairly easy to adjust to the run-on sentences as a deliberate "stream-of-consciousness" writing style choice by the author, even though it is uncertain whether this was the intent or not.
With that being said, even with the book managing to hit on a personal pet peeve of mine, I found it to be quite enjoyable. Annie has a believable mixture of "I'm a mother" maturity and "I had to grow up too fast" youth in her personality. Readers will roll their eyes at her naivete, shake their head at her stubborn day-dreaming about relationships, laugh at the situations she gets herself into, and cross their fingers that she makes it safely through the five weeks the book covers. Over all, it is an entertaining book, with an overall positive feel, that is unique (for American audiences, at least) simply due to the fact that it is a glimpse at a life in another country and culture. This book would be good for anyone who wants a fun, easy, bright book to read. It probably would have received a 4.5 star review if not for the punctuation issue and, if this was truly a conscious choice of the author, I may have even been able to deal with it if I had been forewarned
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