So I just read The Beach by Alex Garland and…

And I liked this book but not as much as I wanted to. The beach is one of my all time favourite films and this book is as good as that but I just had some issues with it, I want to go over both the ups and downs with you today. But first… What’s it about? 

The Khao San Road, Bangkok – first stop on the backpacker trail. On Richard’s first night there a fellow traveller slits his wrists, leaving Richard a map to “the Beach”. The Beach is a legend among young travellers in Asia: white as sands circling a lagoon hidden from the sea, coral gardens and freshwater falls surrounded by jungle. In this earthly paradise, it is rumoured, a select community lives in blissful innocence. For Richard, haunted by the glamour of Vietnam war movies, a trek into unknown Thai territory is irresistible. He was looking for adventure. Now he’s found it.

It’s funny because when I read a book my mam, at some point, will always ask me if I’m enjoying it. When she asked me with this book I told her that I liked it a lot, that I was really enjoying it and it was really interesting. It wasn’t till today, I finished the book yesterday, when I’ve had time to think about it, I decided that maybe I don’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I had. 

I think my main issue is the idea of an unreliable narrator. I’ve never read a book before written like that and I totally understand why it was written like this but it just annoyed me, especially in the last few chapters. I understand Richard, our narrator, is going more and more crazy and this is why it’s written in such a way but I just can’t stand it. 

I did really like the characters though, I thought they were all really interesting and it was super easy to define between who was who and remember why they were important to the story line. This is something I do often struggle with as I have really bad memory for characters and plot points. 

I am glad I read this book and if someone asked me about it I would recommend it but I don’t think I would ever suggest it as a book someone read without prompt. 


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