Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman
After looking a my other 5 star predictions: two horrors and two books touching on intersectionality (with a likelihood of making me angry/sad), I wanted to pick something completely different so I could try being as objective as possible with my ratings, and not falling into a trap of comparing all of my books against each other.
Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of an overbearing father. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.
But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?
It would be hard to class this book as a disappointment as I couldn't find anything that was actually wrong with it. However, I was clearly drawn in by some of the reviews that I was hearing. I had heard people describing Tin Man as the most accurate depiction of bisexuality they have ever read in fiction. I think that was what I was looking for. Ultimately, this not being the case for me personally, was what made this an unmemorable read. Having read Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan in June, I have yet to find a book that describes bisexuality in such an unbiased and natural way.
Despite the book falling short in this aspect, I cannot fault the writing from Winman. There were so many beautifully written passages. The relationships between the characters were completely convincing and I was touched many times throughout, despite this being a short read. I cannot place the missing ingredient that would have boosted this book to having a 5 star rating. I had some set up expectations that were not reached unfortunately, and despite the writing being spectacular and there being some beautiful moments, I was generally underwhelmed. It won't stick out as a memorable contemporary but I am still glad I read Tin Man. I probably shouldn't have tried it for this challenge as a romance/contemporary is very rarely a 5 star read for me. Clearly this was my own doing...
Initial Prediction: 5 stars
Final Rating: 3.5 stars
Publication Date: 27 July 2017 (my edition: 22 March 2018)
Publisher: Tinder Press
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
# of Pages: 213