Full review on my blog
Counting Wild Strawberries is definitely not your regular charming love story. It is the rare story of Kate, Ewan and Gilda, who meet in the most unusual circumstances and develop a relationship friendship in the most unconventional way.
Counting Wild Strawberries is written in 3 parts. I think that the book gradually lost power with each part. Even though it was an easy read the series of events were dull, boring and tedious to read.
This book is set in Europe, with European characters. For my American friends, let me warn you that in the last part of the book, the characters meet an American woman, who is portrayed as an ignorant, annoying, stuck up person who can’t see the world beyond the American border. They humiliate, bully and alienate this person for her lack of culture and for being American. The whole point of this story is to be open minded and deal with situations in different ways. These European people were not open minded when dealing with the “American”, and exerted peer pressure so she would fit into the mold they wanted her to fit. I don’t think this was necessary for the story, as the author is limiting the book’s audience to Europe. I can’t see American readers getting too fond of this book because of this.
Counting Wild Strawberries is marketed as “vivid, eventful and, at times, hilarious journey” of three people. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t find that. This book left me with a feeling that I can only describe as “blah”. Instead of finding the characters differently admirable, they were portrayed as weird, unusual, immature and unlikable. I tried my best to bond with them but it was impossible. The way the affair is handled is so unnatural. The guy never pays the consequences of his acts. Instead he gets both women for life. The wife’s way of handling the affair is unreal. Some might call it reverse psychology, I see it as a lucky exception to the rules. And the mistress who finds guidance and “mentorship” from the people whose life she affects is unbelievable.
Counting Wild Strawberries is not a feel good book. If you’re in the mood for a story about 3 people having a midlife crisis and how they formed life-long bonds during the transition out of their crises, this is the book for you. Of course, this is no rule book. I wouldn’t expect people to be guided by this story. What worked for them, may not work for others. Read this book with a definitely open mind, and be prepared for the unexpected. It could be a book club read. Discussions regarding marriage and how to handle an affair could get interesting. The subject of midlife crisis could be discussed too.
Believe it or not, Counting Wild Strawberries is based on real characters and events, written by David Harper, the real “Ewan”, under a pseudonym. As a reader, I don’t understand why the author chose to use a pseudonym if he was so proud of the story and in good terms with its outcome. And then why use a pseudonym if you are going to go public on who you are in the end? It just doesn’t make sense. It feels like he tried to pull of a J. K. Rowling move when it wasn’t necessary. This book could’ve been an OK read if it was marketed as fiction. In my opinion, the whole based on real characters deal is what backfired and what has made this book not get rave reviews.
Buy on Amazon US Paperback, Kindle
Buy on Amazon UK Paperback, Kindle
I received a copy of this book but was not financially compensated in any way nor obliged to review. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my personal experience while reading it. This review contains affiliate links.