I love a good book, from thrillers to romantic comedies I’m pretty
open to genres. When I was offered the chance to review The Tall Taleof Maxwell Anderson by Steve Joyce, a book about being different and
how society can turn upon people in the most desperate of times.
The story follows Maxwell Anderson, from his birth until he
reaches the age of 13. Maxwell comes into this world as a tiny baby,
too tiny in fact, and he shows no sign of growing. When a doctor
offers to trial an experimental drug to help boost his growth,
Maxwell’s father has no choice but to agree to it. When Maxwell
begins to shoot up in height at an alarming rate, their lives tumble
out of control…
I am slightly conflicted with my review for this book, it’s such a
difficult one to write about because I love certain things about it
and I also think some things could be improved. But, before I go into
detail, I will say I think it’s a book well worth the read if you’re
happy to overlook a couple of things…
I’ll start off by saying I think the concept of the story is
great. I love stories that show society’s good and bad side, the
corrupt nature of humanity wanting to own and control someone who is
different. I love stories that challenge the ‘norm’, so having a
child growing to over 6 foot and seeing how the world relates to him,
that’s interesting to me as a reader.
I also loved how each chapter was nice and concise, it suits my
lifestyle to have short chapters, and my reading style. It breaks it
up and helps me read it in bite size chunks in between the mania that
is my life!
My criticisms lie in a few areas, the first being the dialogue. I
am not particularly boastful of my own dialogue writing, but I know
what I like to read if that makes sense? The writing itself is good,
includes lots of detail and is well constructed, but I sometimes
found the dialogue to be a little unrealistic.
Also, there were times when I genuinely thought the characters
just wouldn’t interact in this way, and there were also times when
the story veered into sexual content ad it just felt a little
unnatural within the book itself. I was also a bit sceptical with the
connection between home education and poor social skills, but as time
went on it was clear to see Maxwell only saw a handful of people ever
in his lifetime, a completely different scenario from home educated
Overall I did enjoy the writing, despite the few areas of
uncertainty. There’s a strong voice within this story, Joyce offers a
brutal portrayal of the world we live in today and I am glad I had
chance to read it.
I think this story holds a lot within it, from questioning our own
judgements to accepting our differences and living in peace. They say
people fear the things they don’t understand, and I think this book
shows this in abundance. I found the ending very upsetting, which
surprised me really, and I’m not sure I feel enough emotion was given
into the character of Maxwell’s father during the final chapters.
I think the book has been left open for a sequel, and I’d love to
read it. I just hope the dialogue and characterisations are a little
stronger and more heartfelt.
All in all this is an interesting, heart-wrenching and shocking
example of what the world is capable of.
Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for review. All
opinions are 100% honest and my own.