The Man in the Middle Floor is told between perspectives of 3 different people living in a building, each on their own flat, on top of each other.
Tam is the stereo white guy. Sexist with hints of homophobia, he doesn’t offer us any reason to like him, but there is no strong reason to dislike him if this doesn’t make you hate him:
You were in big trouble if you were a born -and-bred heterosexual, white, vaguely middle-class guy on the force these days. No chance of promotion – not that Tam wanted it, there was enough paperwork and glad-handing already. Fuck that.
Karen, is a workaholic, divorcee mother of 3 who I liked at first glance but gradually disliked. She is very selfish and obsessed with her work, neglecting her children. Which is a shame, as this character could have been a great portrayal of how mum’s career is thrown on the rails where dad’s stays undamaged, and if you chose to be a working mum, and put your kids to after school clubs etc. you’re subject to get judged. Karen starts as a criticism to that:
Karen felt the awkwardness and lack of familiarity between her and the children. She felt what she always felt when she saw them: the unfairness that if she had been a man with a career she wouldn’t have been judged to be a bad parent just because she was committed to her career. It didn’t make her sad exactly, but she did feel compelled to keep explaining herself, and with every passing year she felt less able to get her point across.
But then the tale turns into Karen neglecting her own children to the point of harming them, and that extremity takes away the unfairness between being a working mum and dad, leaving a bitter taste of judgemental sense. Does one really have to neglect their children if they cling onto their careers/passion etc. I asked myself this when reading Karen…
And our prime character: Nick. An Asperger (or Autistic?) man of 25, who clearly had problems, and we learn why as the story unfolds.
NOW: the Spoilers!!!! Please don’t read the next paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers!!!
Why does abuse have to come out of every book, fingering it’s way through stories? I didn’t like Nick being the victim, and I absolutely hated the descriptions of his abuse, in the end. It’s just adding a bit of tabloid spirit to the whole thing. I wish the whole abuse story wasn’t in the book.It would have been much, much better.
Another 3 star read!
P.S: I LOVED the cover!
Thanks to NetGalley and RedDoor Publishing for this copy in exchange for an honest review.