I had never even heard of the book My Policeman until I found out it was becoming a movie with Harry Styles (playing Tom, the policeman), who is apparently going to get quite naked. The movie was just recently rated R. Okay, I’m all in to see the movie—most of us are looking forward to seeing Harry Styles naked. So I bought and read the book because that’s what I do, and because a book can often be better—more detailed with more character development. Seemed like a good book to review. Here we go.
As you can imagine this book is selling wildly simply because Harry Styles is in the movie and it almost felt as if the book was written with him in mind (released in 2012). But the book itself was not one of my favorites—but I’m guessing the movie is going to be far better.
The blurb from the book cover— It is 1950’s Brighton that Marion first catches sight of Tom. He teaches her to swim in the shadow if the pier and Marion is smitten – determined her love will be enough for them both. A few years later in Brighton Museum Patrick meets Tom. Patrick quickly becomes infatuated with the gorgeous Tom and opens his eyes to the sophisticated world of art, travel, and beauty. Tom is their policeman, and in the 1950s it’s safer for him to marry Marion and meet Patrick in secret. The two lovers must share Tom until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.
After reading the blurb, I was expecting to feel something between these two men—a passionate love—a tragic story. I wanted heartbreak and tears. I wanted to feel something between all of them but that’s not what happened. But don’t get me wrong. The book is well written. Bethan Roberts shows us what life was like in the 1950’s if you were a homosexual, but it was told in a way that I felt was clunky and difficult to read. The book is written from two points of view—that of Marion and of Patrick.
Marion’s narrative (most of the book) was overindulgent and too long. Did we really need so much information about her being a schoolteacher? How did that affect the outcome of the story? Schoolteacher cliché perhaps, but still boring. Sometimes I at least felt sorry for her because she lingered in a loveless marriage thinking she could somehow win Tom’s heart. I only felt a true connection with Patrick. He seemed the only one with the true passion I wanted to feel. Marion was simply obsessive, and that’s okay as her character, but to me it seemed shallow—I wanted to either hate her or love her, but I felt nothing not even her attempt at redemption in the end.
I didn’t feel enough depth from Tom. I felt like I never heard his POV. He was mostly silent and expressed only in the eyes of the other two. It makes sense that he was quiet because of his position as a policeman, but I didn’t feel any emotion from him particularly in the end when I wanted him to breakdown—be heartbroken. In the end I didn’t feel the connection Tom had to Patrick—he seemed to be barely interested. Although I get that the author was trying to propose that Tom was overcome with grief, that didn’t come across to me.
Finally, there was not enough intimacy shown between the two men (although I’m sure that will change radically in the movie). For a book released or written only 10 years ago it seemed to be sadly lacking in at least a few intimate details. It was released in 2012 not 1912!