Book Review: Different Class – Joanne Harris ***

UK Publication Date: 21 Apr 2016. 416 pages.

Different Class is a follow up story to Gentlemen and Players. Set in a private boys grammar school in Yorkshire called St Oswald’s this is a complex tale of tradition and conflict, of bullying and the struggle to fit in.

Unlike Chocolat and the series of books that it spawned in Lansquenet Different Class is a very different animal. Packed full of rich and interesting characters the plot jumps around between a couple of different narrators: a mysterious and disturbed diary writer in 1981 nicknamed Ziggy who likes hurting animals and has a cruel streak and the elderly Latin Master who has been at the school for the last 34 years and is resistant to changes like email and co-ed classes. 2005 has brought a new headmaster and an agenda for change and renewal.

It felt like the sort of story that would make a brilliant three part BBC drama but reading it and trying to keep the separate timelines straight in your head can be a real struggle. The first half of the book is particularly slow but once you get past that point the intrigue surrounding the main characters will draw you in right to the end. I found that it helped reading it on an e-reader as I could easily look up the Latin phrases that are used throughout the book.

Supplied by Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Different Class

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