The Beach by Alex Garland tells of the adventure taken by Richard, a young man who is enticed into exploring a secret, beautiful island by a mysterious man he met while traveling on a gap-year. On his adventures he finds love, while getting caught up in the drugs and glamourized lifestyle of the others he lives alongside on the island. The book has a hectic climax with the island of paradise slowly turning into a nightmare.
The Beach is hands-down one of my favourite books that I have read so far. Once I started reading, I could not stop. I spent the majority of three days in a row reading this book right through, kept on the edge of my seat (or bed) throughout the whole story.
I think Alex Garland has done an amazing job with writing this book, creating such a beautifully written and addictive story. He takes readers on a crazy adventure, while exploring raw themes such as loneliness, lust and love. Richard, the protagonist, is such a loveable and relateable character, especially to young adults, as his curiosity coupled with naivety cause him to struggle with self-doubt and make mistakes along his journey. As well as this, the reader gets to experience Richard’s raw emotions as he falls in love with a woman who is already spoken-for.
One of my favourite moments in the story takes place as Richard tries to get to sleep on the beach and describes his strong longing for Francoise, which is combined with complete sadness and heartbreak as he cannot be with her, or even express his true feelings for her, as she is the girlfriend of his mate (who is also present). He describes how he believes in a theory of a million different universes existing, with each universe having another version of everyone from this universe in it, where they all are experiencing a different version of events. He describes how he finds some solace in believing that in one of those universes, there might be a version of himself and Francoise where he could tell her how he feels and they would be able to be together, even though he is living in a universe where he cannot.
The Beach is a book that is not only suited for one type of person, as it explores so many different themes and takes readers on such a wild series of events. For readers who go weak for love stories, your heart will ache for Richard. For readers who enjoy drama, you will find the turn of events throughout the story enthralling. For readers who love adventure or action, this book will not bore. And, for readers who love surprises and a little bit of mystery, this book will keep you reading right up til the end, wanting to find out what happens next!
I would recommend this book to anyone, and I do.
What I rate it: 10/10