book reviews

Book Review: The Best of Adam Sharp


The Best of Adam Sharp
: Graeme Simsion
Published: 2016
Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
Pages: 372
My Rating: 4/5

Graeme Simsion is of course best known for his hugely successful novel The Rosie Project, and it’s equally successful sequel, The Rosie Effect. And while his latest book, The Best of Adam Sharp still captures his unique writing voice, it is also starkly different.

The Best of Adam Sharp follows the story of Adam, an almost 50-year-old IT contractor, music trivia expert, and  occasional pianist. Although he is happy – he has a normal but perhaps mundane relationship with Claire, a successful job, and okay social life – he feels there is something missing. When he receives an unexpected email from an old flame and perhaps the love of his life from over twenty years ago, Adam is tempted to trip down memory lane. But when his reminiscence turns into reality, and the opportunity for a second chance arises, Adam is faced with the consequences of such dangerous living.

I was engaged with this novel from the first page. As with Don in The Rosie Project, Simsion’s ability to create a likeable character is brilliant. As soon as Adam began his narrative I liked him, and I wanted to hear his story. Simsion builds Adam’s world in perfect detail through his perceptive introspection, wit and natural charm.

Where The Best of Adam Sharp differs from Simsion’s previous novels, is that this one is more complex, and tackles more intricate themes. Issues such as dealing with one’s past, temptation, infidelity and being prepared to lose everything in order to regain what was lost, are all tackled within the story.

One thing that drew me in was Simsion’s exploration of the connection between music and emotion. The book references many songs that Adam uses to connect memories and emotions. We all do it. You’ll hear a song on the radio and it will immediately transport you back to a time, a place, an experience, a relationship. Simsion uses this throughout the book and it works. In fact, The Best of Adam Sharp even his it’s own spotify playlist!

The book isn’t necessarily an easy, light-hearted read. Although, Simsion brings his usual brand of light humour to the story, he also forces the characters, and the reader, into situations that will question morals and values.

It’s not a perfect book (there isn’t any such thing), there were parts in the middle which I felt dragged a little and didn’t perhaps move the story forward. But overall, it’s an enjoyable book that at times will make you laugh, cry, feel uncomfortable and get you pondering your own past life choices.


Are you a Graeme Simsion fan?
Have you read The Best of Adam Sharp?