Published April 1, 1997 by Vintage
3.5 out of 5 chickadees singing. When asked to select a book for book club that took place in France, I stumbled upon “Anything Considered.” I’d never read this author before and couldn’t figure out from the description what genre it was (and after reading the book, still aren’t sure). However, it sounded perfect for a book club pick to make you feel like you’re living in another land. “Anything Considered” is strongest in making you feel like you want to move to Europe and live the fancy European life. I greatly enjoyed its descriptions of food and scenery.
Where “Anything Considered” is weak is in its characterization. I’m a reader who likes to connect emotionally with her characters. I didn’t care much about the outcome of the main characters and my favorite character (Georgette) was very secondary.
Bennet loves his French lifestyle, but is only interested in funding it through interesting and unusual ventures. In this spirit, when he begins running out of money, he puts an “Anything Considered” ad in the newspaper. He is soon employed by Poe, who offers him a chance to make money and live like a millionaire by helping him with tax fraud. Bennet agrees, but is soon trapped into a scheme much larger than tax fraud.
This book started off slow, but picked up speed in the middle and continued moving quickly until the end. It’s a James Bond, thrilling heist kind of book, except not, because the main character never does anything exceptionally brilliant or cunning. Still, the action is interesting. The writing style strikes me as very different and unique. He spends a lot of time building the setting, which can be both good and bad.
I’m glad I read this book and wouldn’t mind reading more of Mayle’s books in the future.