BookClub Reads: Milkman


In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.

Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.


I dislike when novels like this makes you go into it with very high expectations. Because usually this is always, always a let down in a few ways to say the least. 

Let’s start with the writing style. It always makes or breaks a book. Especially lately given my recent reviews I’ve come across writing styles that don’t catch my interest. 

Burns writes in a way that makes me think she is trying to sound sophisticated in a mysterious “I want you to be suspicious with every single word I write” type of way and within the first chapter I realised this and rolled my eyes a few times because I find it embarrassing how many times I have thought this. I find this novel to be slow paced. Boring with descriptions that are trying to sound oh so intriguing when their not. 

I find it annoying the use of the words instead of using the characters actual names. How did this novel actually win so many awards and became this successful? A lot of marketing is the only explanation. I dislike writers that are trying to sound oh so cool instead of actually writing properly without being stuck up about it. 

This novel is one of those that will make or break the story for you based on its writing style as with all novels in my opinion. 

It was difficult to tell what era this novel was set as no clear description explained this – poor writing as it did not communicate with even this fine detail. It is set in the 70’s during the troubles in Belfast in Northern Ireland. 

An example from the novel that made me roll my eyes at annoyance:

“For the first time ever I did not do my reading-while-walking. I did not do my walking. Again I did not tell myself why. Another thing was I missed my next run session. Had to, incase   He reappeared in the parks” 

This novel has long, endless sentences which were not needed. I disliked the constant reminder of the message which was people with and without control and how women were powerless during the troubles. 

Still not sure how I fully read this novel, I was told you have to push through it as it does get better however in my experience this is not the case.

2/5 Stars


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