Definitely Lesser, Not so much Bohemian

This is precisely the sort of book that wins awards and acclaim (as it indeed has) and has absolutely zero real appeal.

Let's start with...

A redemptive, captivating story of passion and innocence set across the bedsits of mid-1990s London

Nope. Not true. Where is the redemption? Please tell me.

I applaud McBride's experimentation with the Shakespearean English and the stream-of-consciousness format, but instead of adding to a bohemian style of writing it just makes it an arduous task for the reader to try and figure out who is talking or doing what. There were components of the story that I didn't fully understand until discussing it later because I had to just ignore what I didn't understand and keep reading.

Once the reader adapts to the way the story is told, the story itself takes time to build. I expected Eily's experience in her acting classes and in theatre to be more of a focal point for the story. Other than one experience where she is doing Memory Work on stage, most of the story is about a young teenager's angst and mismanaged expectations of her romantic relationship.

Ultimately, Stephen's story and perspective are much more interesting than Eily which leads me to wonder if the book would have been more interesting from his perspective instead of hers. While one may be able to argue that Stephen's evolution is a story of redemption, I don't think I could say the same for Eily. I didn't find the characters engaging or their story captivating at all.

Overall, it wasn't worth the effort that it took to understand the writing style. Save yourself the work and skip this one.