Top Banana by Kath Middleton

I finished reading Top Banana a few days ago and I'm still laughing. The book has a serious side but it's carried along by some very funny scenes.

I know that Kath Middleton is an accomplished writer of shorter pieces having enjoyed both her novellas: Ravenfold and Message in a Bottle. However, Top Banana, Kath Middleton's first novel, demonstrates that she can extend her range and sustain it into a much larger work.

Steven Oliver Stanley (note the initials) is a twenty five years old young man who seems to be locked into a teenage Saturday job and life style. He's basically a decent type and when he stumbles over wrong-doing his first instinct, which he follows up straightaway, is to go to the police. The consequence of his right action is a series of events that are transformational and by the end of the book Steven has come-of-age and embarked upon a happy-ever-after life journey.

Top Banana really is a feel-good book. There are several instances of the triumph of right over wrong; there are the laugh-aloud funny events that are interspersed throughout the story from beginning to end; and there is a wonderful Mr Pollyish theme that emerges as the story unfolds where Steven takes responsibility for his life and takes actions to change it.

Steven himself is a wonderful character. He is so endearing despite his daft ideas and extraordinary fascination for fruit and veg. His mother is a nightmare of pursed lips, rolled eyes and acidic comments; Steven's long suffering dad is a quiet, formidable force who holds the little family together. Steven's first boss is an Ealing comedy villain while the second is a paradigm of human resources best practice. And when Steven eventually meets the love of his life, she turns out to be the sweetest, kindest, most grounded character that either he or the reader could wish for.

Beneath the comedy, Top Banana is a novel about relationships and these are explored wisely and with sensitivity. The book is ultimately positive and uplifting; it leaves behind a strong sense of the power of humankind to change for the better and this lasts even longer than the laughter.

I look forward to reading whatever Kath Middleton writes next and highly recommend Top Banana. You can find details of Top Banana and all her other books on Kath Middleton's Author Page at Amazon.co.uk or at Amazon.com.