REVIEW: Greatest Hits - Laura Barnett

Greatest Hits - Laura Barnett
Published by W&N on 15th June 2017.
My rating: 3/5
Book depository purchase link.

After reading and loving The Versions Of Us a couple of years ago, I was excited to see a new literary novel from Laura Barnett. This one, Greatest Hits, is about a woman named Cass who is reflecting on her life and music career whilst putting together her Greatest Hits album. Each track represents a period of her life and the narrative flickers between the present and the past until the two merge at the end.

Defined by love, loss and suffering, Cass has experienced the worst of what we can all relate to which is what made this novel such a surprisingly dark read. In many ways, this also gave it a powerful effect. We can all relate to losing someone we love, through the fault of our own, or accident, or theirs. For many of us, music becomes the way we can process it. I spent the past two years as an editor for a music magazine where I read about people connecting with all sorts of music and one thing is for sure: it doesn't have to be a power ballad to be powerful. So, for Cass, her music is her escape and again the reader can relate to her - can almost become her.

Laura Barnett's execution was, once again, brilliant. She has a melodic style (that's the only way I can think of to describe it) and I felt lulled into the story as though it were a fairy-tale. The descriptions of the vicarage felt so traditional and slightly magical that they reminded me of Angela Carter's writing. 

I wanted to love it, I really did. But I found that I struggled to immerse myself in the story during the first half because there seemed to be no conflict. Cass wandered through life, this happened, that happened, so what? It was only in the second half that I began to become emotionally tied to the plot and found myself feeling, well, miserable. Maybe if the first half hadn't seemed to go on forever, I might have loved it more, or maybe it just wasn't for me.

If you're looking for a well-executed literary novel that will take your heart and rip it to shreds, this is the one for you. I've seen so much love for this book already.

Love, Jess

Thank you to W&N for my ARC.

Talk books with me on Twitter @JessikahHope


  1. It's too bad it didn't quite work for you. I've seen this book around as well, and a lot of people have loved it. Although when I first saw it, I thought it was an actual memoir :)

  2. Do you think you'll give it a go? It sure sparks an opinion!


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