The Radleys by Matt Haig: Book Review


Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.

One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.

The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.

Publisher: Free Press

Date Published: September 20, 2011

No. Of Pages: 385

Date Read: April  2016

Source: Book Sale



“Course you don’t just convert anyone. It’s very serious thing. You drink their blood, then they drink yours. It’s two way. And it’s a commitment. If you convert someone, they’ll crave you. Love you for as long as you live. No matter how much they know that loving you is the worst possible thing they could do. They just can’t help it.”

This specific part of the book pretty much sums up my experience in reading this absolutely great novel. I was converted, I was in love!

It was hard to put it down, there are moments when I wished I could just attach it to my limbs and read the whole day away, but of course I had responsibilities to attend to and stuff to do, but I swear I was so engrossed by this book all the noises around me became a distant sound, like I literally zoned out. And that doesn’t happen all the time. What I appreciated most about this book is no one forced me into reading it, I was not pressured by any hype whatsoever or some readalong I need to catch up to. I read it at my own pace, I read it without reading the blurb, I went ahead not knowing much about it, and the saying ignorance is bliss held so much truth than ever. It was an unadulterated experience, so to speak. It was just sitting on my shelf for almost three years now, and that magical moment when a book speaks to you, *pick me, pick me* and I did, picked it up, settled in a comfortable spot and read away, before I knew it I was already past the half mark. And there’s this sense of satisfaction that I could not fully explain that I have not felt for a long time. And as reader I craved for that feeling, when you’re not programmed to hate or like a book, when you don’t have any expectations, when you just let a book take you into a beautiful place only you and the author know about. Ahh, it was euphoric, and I’ve missed that. Now this book brought back that feeling, that is why I have been so attached to it. Yep totally like a convertee to her convertor.

Now let me stop blabbing and get on to the real reason why you are reading this review haha.The Radleys is my first vampire read, yes ever. And it definitely did not disappoint. I was scared at first, I wouldn’t want my judgment to be tainted by the notion that books about vampires are overrated. I want to enjoy it as much as any other books. And I was glad it was able to held up its end of the bargain. I really enjoyed this book, so much so that whilst reading it, I was also researching for more good vampire books to read. And I may be a little late to the bandwagon but, yes, I think vampire books are definitely right up my alley. So if you got a good recommendation, please tell me!

This book captured my interest from the very first page up to the last. I really loved the writing style, it was so beautifully written, I don’t want it to end. I understand that not everyone liked this book, as it only has 3.47 rating on goodreads, but I was not deterred by it. There are books that have low ratings that I really enjoyed, and in the same vein there are also books with high ratings that I didn’t like at all, so it is a lesson to me, and probably to all readers out there that they shouldn’t be influenced by the ratings, I mean we all have different tastes in books. Let a book surprise you, again ignorance is bliss.

This book is so much more than meets the eye, yes it is about a family struggling to fit in a world they don’t belong in. It was a story of buried secrets, family above everything else and unconventional love. It was a full reading experience with every good things thrown in the mix. It was funny, thought-provoking, sometimes it gives you that melodramatic feeling too, it was all a good book is about and so much more. You just cannot cage it into one definition. I loved how the chapters are uniquely written, yes, the chapters are shorter than the usual ones we see in books, but the story wasn’t compromised at all, if for anything it added to the beauty of the book, making it more addictive than it already is.

The characters are all interesting. The Radleys is just like any other normal family with secrets, it was such a nice thing to read how they go about with their own lives day to day, and how one unfortunate event changed everything. Rowan’s and Clara’s character are just like the normal teenager, Peter and Helen just like every normal couple who suffers some marriage issues. The people surrounding them, i.e, The Felts, The Copelands, the people in the book group. Everyone played their parts well, and were all believable. Especially Will Radley, Peter’s brother, he was reckless and full of angst, that you just can’t help but get where he is coming from. The characters are well portrayed and is really a pleasure to read how their lives are all intertwined to one another, how each of them played an enormous part towards the end.

I loved the back story too! It was executed well, there were the littlest of loopholes that I could definitely forgive. I loved how the world of the vampires are explained in this book, that there will always be something original about their story even if you have heard a lot of stories like it before. It was not the typical vampire stories we hear or watch on television. I loved that it has depth to it, that it is not just another vampire novel that one could easily dismiss amongst the pile of mediocre books, this one speaks in volumes, this one portrays more than what it offers, it will surely make you ponder on life’s choices and its consequences. Maybe if I read this when I was younger, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it just as much as I did today. Again, it is always true,  a book comes to you in the perfect time and I couldn’t be any happier that this book found me. This book instantly became a favorite! And now I am more pumped to read more of Matt Haig’s works.


Rating: rating_5stars

“This is the whole stupid thing about all these unblood relationships. They depend on people staying the same, standing in the same spot they were in over a decade ago, when they first met. Surely the reality is that connections between people aren’t permanent, but fleeting and random, like a solar eclipse or clouds meeting in the sky. They exist in a constantly moving universe full of constantly moving objects.”
― Matt HaigThe Radleys




One thought on “The Radleys by Matt Haig: Book Review

  1. Pingback: Nerdy Talks’ Top 16 Books of 2016 | Nerdy Talks

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