The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles

Author: Katherine Pancol
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: October 17th to 20th, 2013
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve given The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles a middle of the road rating of 3 stars. You could call that cheating. In this case I think it suits because I liked it but it took me at least a hundred pages to warm to it, which some may consider this too long. As I’m a person who can’t not finish a book, I stuck it out. I’m glad I did.

The main issue I had with this book was the characters, particularly the women. It was hard to like Josephine to start with because she was so self-deprecating and helpless. However, of the course of the book she undergoes a massive character development, which I always enjoy. After her husband leaves her she slowly starts to rebuild her life and learns to stand on her own two feet. She learns to be her own woman and the self-deprecation turns into modesty, much more likeable in any person! I particularly enjoyed the way she realises she no longer needs Antoine, right when he was standing in front of her realising how much he missed her. You go, girl! The other women, however, were pretty much unlikeable all throughout the novel: Henriette, Josiane (who I felt very little sympathy for), Iris (couldn’t stand the woman!), Hortense (while I refrain from calling her a ‘hussy’ I do believe the gold digging is not an attractive trait in any woman, particularly such a young one. I also believe her attitude to her mother was deplorable right until the end where she realised everything her mother did for her and their family, and took such a big stand in her mother’s name), even Shirley annoyed me. It doesn’t do much for women to be seen as conniving and cunning, or to be used as footstools for other people to step over. While I do not approve of cheating husbands, Antoine’s girlfriend Mylene was the only one who showed backbone and initiative and that stands out to me.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy this read as it went on and it was made much more enjoyable due to Josephine’s slow and steady progress to her transformation as a strong woman capable to running her own life and her own family. There were some clumsy phrases and the dialogue wasn’t fantastic but this may be due to the translation – I imagine it’s quite different in French!

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