Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bottle Factory Disaster

The Bottle Factory Outing Beryl Bainbridge

Freda and Brenda are two (English) women working at a wine bottling company in London. The rest of the workers are Italian, plucked from rural Italian poverty by the factory's owner, the near-mythical Mr. Paganotti. Freda is big and loud and in love with Paganotti's nephew, Vittorio. Brenda is small and dumpy and uptight, but doesn't want to make a fuss so lets the factory manager, Rossi, molest her. In an attempt to set the perfect scene for Vittorio can confess his love (for surely he loves her!) Freda organizes an outing to a Stately Home for the factory to take together.

Of course, nothing goes right and in fact goes horribly wrong. Bottle Factory Outing is a macabre twist on the classic British bedroom farce/comedy of errors type. And... it didn't really do much for me. I didn't connect with or particularly care about any of the characters and was only mildly interested in what happened to them. Freda's over-dramatics annoyed me, but not nearly as much as Brenda's spinelessness did. I just didn't understand Brenda. At all. I had no idea what made her tick and why she did the things she did and reacted the way she reacted. There's something about this book that I just can't put my finger on. I was to say it reminds me of Bottom and Benny Hill with a bit of Alan Partridge (all shows I don't particularly enjoy) but it's not that madcap slapsticky and those seem like really bad comparisons, but they just gave me that vibe for some weird reason. It's hard to put my finger on. Anyway, overall I give it a "meh" which is solely based on me on the reader and nothing to do with the book itself.

Book Provided by... my local library

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