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How to Lead a Life of Crime

How to Lead a Life of Crime - Kirsten Miller Book of the Week
Friday, March 22 '13

4.5 stars

Dark and brilliant!

It took me surprisingly long to read this.. Well, I read the first 45% in one evening and then didn't read. I went and read a load of other books... but didn't pick this up. The reason was simply because I expected something light and fun. And this is definitely not light and fun.
I ended up finishing it in sever installments. And to be honest, I think that How to Lead a Life of Crime is one of those books one should read over a few days.
As I mentioned it's not cute or fun or light. It is really intense, gritty and much deeper than expected.

The plot is really well done. And Miller threw me a couple of times, because I really didn't expect those turns of events.
The concept utterly brilliant. While some of it is unrealistic - it is somehow well enough rooted in a possible scenario that it doesn't matter- I gobbled it all up.
The first half is paced rather slow and I found it long wound. The second half picks up in pace and in fact the last quarter is so fast paced it had me reeling!

The character building is definitely interesting. The entire book is told from Flick's point of view. And Miller created a interesting and likable guy. Someone I ended up rooting for, hoping he is making the right choices. His voice is witty and sarcastic. It made me chuckle on many occasions.
But the character that really surprised me was Joi. She at first seemed timid and all happy-loving in the beginning. So I kinda brushed her off as kinda uninteresting- just to be surprised over and over again. While she is a bit too good. I liked that she stood there as a contrast to all the others.
In fact most of the support cast were a bit flat- but the interesting part was that since they were view from Flick's POV, and he at times was really dismissive, more often than not arrogant and even shallow with his assessment of other I didn't mind.
On the other hand some characters were very extreme- Mandel and Flick's father. Nearly cartoonish, just bordering at the unbelievable- but still believable enough to be frighteningly psychopathic and haunting.
Miller very cleverly set different characters against each other to highlight certain things and different events.

I really enjoyed Miller's prose. Except for the f__k. I really don't understand why anyone would choose printing it like this. It's annoying. We all know its stand for fuck, just say it or leave it out.

The best part of the book though for me is the things it implied and played with. I think that's also one of the reasons why I would suggest to read How to Lead a Life of Crime in several installments. It made me ponder over things:
Do we have a choice or are we driven by our DNA? How much are we going to end up like our parents? Different group dynamics. If given fear and terror, who will we react?
But also how much is this a Young Adult book?!

A great novel with a brilliant concept!