"I found the book really quite engaging. It's a very easy read, and has a wealth of social issues which keep up the momentum, but I felt the ending left things a bit high and dry, and I wanted more so that's probably a good thing! I'm not so sure the idea of loyalty was the best concept, I felt it was more fear (of loss, being found out, change etc) which is a very common childhood thing, and the desire to climb inside the bottle of forgetfullness was well presented."
"Delphine de Vigan's LOYALTIES was a short and easy read; undemanding in length, but not in content and that was the major problem that most members of the book group had with it.
It was too short to deal with its serious content in any meaningful depth and the interconnected stories, of the four main protagonists, were not fully believable. The main story of twelve year old Theo's self destructive drinking needed greater explanation. How did no one, in or out of school, notice his drunken state and take action? How was Helene, his teacher, not aware that his problem was intoxication and not physical abuse, that he was not suffering from the same plight as she, as a child, had? Couldn't she smell him? Theo's father may have been made almost catatonic by depression, but why was his mother so blind to his situation? The adults in this book behaved like unthinking children, it was the two children, and particularly Mathis, who showed mature loyalty.
The problems of this book were not limited to the main characters and the storyline, but also applied to the lack of development of secondary characters, for example, Cecile's patronising husband and the awful cardboard character gym teacher.
The majority verdict on this brief novel was that it was an unsatisfactory read and the particular translation may have played a part in that."