Top critical review
Reviewed in India on 23 January 2017
To be honest, I had very high expectations of this book, given that it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Eileen is an interesting character and the raw, at times often nauseating description of her personal hygiene and bowel give this novel a sense of grim realism. It works fine as a character study but for me, the plot is extremely thin and the supporting characters are not very believable or sympathetic, particularly Rebecca. Moreover, this book glosses over certain issues that would have really given this novel a little extra padding, such as the nature of criminal justice and the plight of the individual boys at the prison. It was also a fairly short read and one of the few novels that I think could have been stretched to include more character building anecdotes.