Practical Jean

Practical Jean

A Novel

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
11
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This eagerly awaited new novel from Trevor Cole combines the humour and sharp observations of contemporary life that he is known for with an irresistibly twisted premise, for fans of the quirkily macabre Six Feet Under and Dexter , and readers of Paul Quarrington, Miriam Toews, Jonathan Franzen, and, of course, Trevor Cole.

In his first two, GG-shortlisted novels, Trevor Cole proved himself a master of drawing us into the shadowy side of human nature with sharp observation and warm wit. In Practical Jean , he goes a step further: this is a darkly humourous and revelatory tale of an ordinary, small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age -- a do-nothing husband, a family that refuses to understand her -- who realizes her fondest wish is to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of aging and illness. And that's when she decides to kill them . . .
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, c2010.
ISBN: 9780771023255
Characteristics: 294 p. ;,22 cm.

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Liber_vermis
Jun 26, 2017

After caring for her mother during a protracted and painful death, did Jean develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which unbalanced her judgment into committing the four murders in this novel? While Jean might be able to rationalize ending her own life in order to avoid a possible disagreeable death, she has no justification to impose her values on her friends. This novel poses tough questions about aging and dying.

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elinpat
Apr 25, 2012

A hoot. Black comedy. She kills her friends to save them from old age.

l
lindakennedy
Feb 21, 2012

This is described as a comedy, which it is in part. It is a little misleading however to present it as such when her 'practical' nature means killing off all her 'friends', and best ones at that!! I found it over the top.

bdemian Jan 09, 2012

Perceptive, darkly humourous satire yet poignant and unsettling - in the best way. An incisive portrait of both the title character and the goings-on of a small town and a probing study of friendship.

samdog123 Oct 18, 2011

This is a book I read for my book club--something I never would have known about or picked up on my own. What a clever piece of writing this is from Canadian author Trevor Cole! It's a dark, humourous book which follows our main character, Jean. Jean has just finished a 3 month stint caring for her dying Mother and is determined that none of her best friends will ever have to suffer a terrible death. She begins killing them off one by one after she makes sure they are really happy first. Very well done indeed.

w
wiredonjava
Oct 12, 2011

Highly entertaining as a male author speaks from the psyche from a half dozen of female characters and the nuances between women having trying to have relationships and the idiosyncrasies occuring. Very observant details of the chilling, disturbing, misled main character. Quite an enjoyable read for me and it was suggested by a book club. Breezed through it in no time. Putting more on hold now by this 'cut to the chase' Trevor Cole.

Cdnbookworm Sep 10, 2011

This story is well-written and has a unique plot, but somehow I just couldn't connect with it and had to force myself to finish it.
Jean makes a living creating unique ceramic pieces based on leaves. They are fragile and expensive and often don't work out for her. She is married to Milt, a substitute teacher at the high school level.
For the last few months, she has been giving care to her mother who has been dying from cancer. This experience, seeing her mother in pain and no longer enjoying life has affected her greatly. Death has always had an affect on her, leading her to creativity in her work. This time however, she has decided to be practical. Her mother always despaired of her developing a practical nature, and while it is too late for her mother, Jean decides that it is not too late to apply her newfound practicality to her friends.
Working on the premise of dark humour, this novel brings many issues of today's life to the fore.

b
becker
Jun 25, 2011

Well if you are looking for something different to shake up your reading list, here it is. This book is a little bizarre but interesting enough that it kept me reading until the end because I really wanted to see how it would turn out. It is described as a darkly humorous book but I thought it was really too odd to be amusing. It is about a woman named Jean who has recently buried her mother after a long and agonizing battle with cancer. She is dismayed that people have to endure that type of long and painful death and decides the nicest thing she can do for her friends is to kill them so that she can prevent them from ever having that experience. I can't say I loved the book but it was just different enough and interesting enough to keep me reading.

2stretch2 Jun 09, 2011

Brilliant premise but the execution - so to speak - lacks literary finesse. The writing often falls flat and the plot lags. Pushed my way through it though!

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GerryAdams
Jan 19, 2011

Dark

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