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Book Review: According to Yes by Dawn French

By Friday 8 January 2016Books & Authors, Reviews
dawn-french-according-to-yes-book-cover According to Yes felt like experimental writing gone wrong. The plot was completely implausible and lead to an ending that felt impossible and unbelievable.

In According to Yes, Rosie Kitto joins the uber strict Wilder-Bingham household as Nanny to grandchildren Three, Red and Teddy. Kemble, their father is going through a difficult divorce, made more difficult by the custody demands of Glenn, his controlling and overbearing mother. Grandfather Thomas keeps quiet to keep the peace.

Rosie’s character is the opposite of what the family are used to. She’s unconventional, loves bright colours and has decided to live life according to Yes. Rosie inspires Three and Red. Unfortunately Rosie doesn’t stop there.

Rosie’s character is a complex mix of conflicting thoughts and feelings. This gave Rosie a feeling of realness and depth. It’s clear from the first page that Rosie is running away from something that has caused her great pain. To the reader Rosie is admirably flawed, but her actions are completely over-the-top and unrealistic. These over-the-top moments felt forced and for the benefit of a unbelievable and poorly thought out storyline. Most unbelievable in the storyline were Rosie’s sexual indiscretions.

French switches perspectives throughout According to Yes and it works really well. There are some wonderfully well written scenes. French describes scenes fantastically and got the pacing spot on. French did miss the opportunity write from the perspectives of Three and Red.

French has a gay character in this novel. It was just such a shame that the character had to be struggling with his sexuality and in being honest about it with himself and others. This particular character felt two-dimensional and his growth was neglected by French. This opinion might be slightly coloured by the fact that recently I’ve read quite a few stories with characters that are gay. All these characters have been tormented by their sexuality, rather than celebrating who they are. And all of these characters have seemed to follow the same pattern of destroying their life and the lives of those around them. Not great role models for people who are gay. Gay people finally get into mainstream fictional literature and all are portrayed as this tormented soul, with little else to offer.

Overall According to Yes is a mixed bag. Good description and use of perspective, but with fundamental problems with plot.

Review soon,



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  • Kerry Harvey says:

    I LOVE Dawn French and have read all her books however, I agree with you on some of your points. Rosie just didn’t seem believable to me I was also so disappointed with the end – Dawn goes to a lot of effort to point out that Glenn has changed however never confronts Glenn with anything where this could be tested (apart from the very last scene). I would have liked to see how Glenn handled Kemble’s bombshell and I also wanted to know ‘who dunnit’ as then how Glenn handled that would have shown the growth which she apparently went through.

    • Antony says:

      Hi Kerry,

      Thank you for your comment. I completely agree with you. In particular I’d love to have read how Glenn responded to Kemble’s bombshell. 🙂

      Antony x

  • Mathiilda Oldenhof says:

    According to trash. Morale zero for a school teacher/nanny.

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