“Book of the Month” for March 2016.
You can find Dadness.uk’s full review of The Radio here:
I was expecting good things from this book when I started it, but never expected it to be as good as it was!
You can find Sheli’s full review of The Page here:
The Radio is Lee’s debut novel and it shows many positives. While I didn’t laugh out loud at George’s trials and tribulations – the comedy is certainly bittersweet – he is definitely a lovable character. I also really loved the premise; it’s a subtle but perceptive glimpse into the difficulties that British people have dealing with mental illness, particularly in young people, and George’s quest for redemption is revealed tenderly, with great empathy, and without sugar-coating the tragic aspect of the loss of a child.
You can find Kate’s full review of The Radio here:
Amusing and poignant in equal measure; warm, witty and true to life.
Judge, The Novel Prize 2012
Although I was fortunate enough to be asked to contribute towards the sleeve notes, I felt it was important for me to write a slightly more extensive review of this extremely engaging and readable debut novel.
Modern thinking is that you need to have a strict plot running through a book to make it interesting, readable and worthwhile. I don’t agree with this, and this book proves my point. Not only does it read so well it is a brilliant page turner, but it also portrays a great number of universal truths about daily life, about the mundanity of daily existence, that make it more than just a quick read. It has something in it for the reader to carry away with him/her when the book is finished.
The twist at the end leaves the reader wanting more, which I think is a good thing. Really good books leave the reader felling bereft, and that’s how I felt when I reached the end.
Couched in simple language, this story leads the reader through the full gamut of emotions, from hilarious incredulity through to the depths of despair. This is what makes it such a good a worthwhile (and quick) read. Entertaining from start to finish, it isn’t as superficial as many chick lit books, and the serious undertone of it makes me feel that the blurb describing it as a black comedy does it a slight injustice. This is a satire as well as contemplative narrative which will enrich the reader.
Author, Dead Men Walking
M. Jonathan Lee’s debut novel first came to my attention a few months ago, as a finalist in The Novel Prize 2012. I have enjoyed books by Nick Hornby and Joseph Connolly when in the mood for “real life” literature (doesn’t involve mass killings, magic, apocalyptic futures, deadly strains of flu, etc). As M. Jonathan Lee’s style has drawn comparisons with both I’ve been awaiting its publication keenly. I’m so glad I kept my eyes peeled for it as it’s a cracking read. The characters are well formed and you really care what happens to each one of them right from the start. In a nutshell this book will have you chuckling one minute and choking back tears the next (or biting the inside of your cheek in a manly fashion). I haven’t enjoyed a debut novel as much since Alex Garland’s “The Beach”…here’s hoping Mr Lee’s next novel isn’t far away!
R. Scott Griffiths
I’m not one for writing reviews, despite buying 2-4 books a month for my Kindle, but felt keen to contribute, mainly to encourage this debut author. The Radio is a truly heartfelt, insightful and warm composition. Despite the darker side to much of it’s content, Lee still manages to keep the reader gripped by the dark humour and familiarity of the characters.
The books strength is in it’s core sense of family and the humour identified in simplicity of daily life. We can all relate to this book and its characters on one level or another.
Mollie and George provide two memorable and long suffering characters, surrounded by those who have lost perspective.
A superb debut, and I look forward to reading his next novel.
This book is a great read, coming from a guy who doesn’t read that often I couldn’t put the book down. Full of characters that you will love or love to hate. It draws you in doesn’t let go till the end when you want more.
Although I share the same name as the author, which is the reason it drew my attention, I must say that I have never finished a novel so quickly. The author effortlessly draws in the reader with rich character descriptions which keep you turning the page over and over.
A fantastic twist. Surely there is a follow up to come?
Reviewing a first book is difficult, whilst appreciating the gargantuan effort by the writer is it fair to judge alongside an established author? Happily this is not an issue with ‘The Radio’… an extremely enjoyable and sharp debut by M Jonathan Lee. Mr Lee is clearly an accomplished writer, but his storytelling here shines.
Others have commented on the dark nature of the tale, and whilst I agree, I felt the dry humor and honesty of the characters really made the book. I found the main protagonist both sympathetic and a little tragic, his surroundings chaotic and all too familiar to family life. Chapters of the book are very moving and whilst the final twist is beautifully judged there were a number of outstanding unresolved issues that made me hope for a follow up in the near future.
The book works on a number of levels, foremost it is a great story, but its depth and emotional weight is also handled with a skilled and very light touch. It would be a disservice to describe this as a very good debut, it is simply very good book. Highly recommended.
Came across this title having read about it in local newspapers. Bought a copy and from beginning to end, could not put down and finished within a day. Love the twist, cant wait for the sequel.
I was recommended this book by a friend, and I’m so glad I gave it a go. Poignant, moving and laugh-out-loud funny. It’s great writing, and you get the sense that each line, each word, has been carefully considered and crafted. Such an intelligent debut, and one that I think will strike a chord with many. The kind of book you buy, put on your shelf and then promptly lend out to others – so you go buy another copy, put it on your shelf and then promptly lend it out to others…
A fantastic read. I could not put it down, I wanted to know what happened next. I was not disappointed, great book you need to read it. Well done M. Johnathan Lee. I look forward to the next book, hope it will not be long.
I was privileged to read The Radio prior to publication and found it compelling and a real page turner. That was some time ago. When I heard that it had been published I was keen to buy a copy and re read it. It was a great second read and the number of points of detail and cameos which I had not appreciated/remembered from the first read came to life and I found the family relationships so fascinating that I couldn’t put it down.
I was recommended this book by a close friend whilst on holiday. I managed to read the whole book in 24 hours, I simply couldn’t put it down. The characters in the book are incredibly colourful, but more importantly believable. The story revolves around downtrodden George and his disfunctional family, only is it when the story unfolds that the reasons for his families short commings become apparent.
The book is funny, thought provoking and at times heart breaking. It is quite apparent that the author must have knowledge around some of the more disturbing subject matter to describe the emotions involved in such detail.
Finally this book is 1.99! A complete bargain! I didnt want to mention any twists within the book, but it seems this has already been covered, I would say read the book without second guessing it, the pay off is worth it.
I’ve just finished reading “The Radio” by author Jonathan Lee. What a deliciously witty, clever, book that draws you in from the first chapter. It’s a beautifully dark, funny character driven tale that conjures up the very best and worst traits of family life. The characters are utterly believable (we all know people like them) good and bad. It’s a bold, brave and surprisingly refreshing debut novel that offers a “kaiser sose” style twist that leaves readers waiting for a follow up.
I loved every single minute of ‘The Radio’. Well written, the words just flowed so easily. There were some interesting characters too. I found this book really funny at times but also very sad. This is a story about real people and family life and I’m sure that lots of people can relate to it.
You can find Sonya’s full review of The Radio here:
Really enjoyed The Radio. A very funny book. I liked the way the characters are people you’d meet in day to day life. I couldn’t put it down once I’d started it.
As a first novel,The Radio is quite remarkable and works on many levels. Jonathan Lee has crafted an amazing story of family life and covers the whole range of emotions. The reader is immediately engaged and is taken on a journey of hope,comedy of the black kind and tragedy.No spoilers here but as twists go,the ending is a complete surprise. Mr Lee has a terrific way with words and I do hope there will be a lot more from him in the future. Highly recommended.
Author, Smile of the Viper
The writing flows from the page in terrific style – one of those books you live while you are reading it, and will stay with you when you are done…I am quite sad it is over.
You can find Liz’s full interview with M. Jonathan Lee and review of The Radio here: