Just like 'White Teeth' this seems to be one of those books that some people love ardently and others hate intensely. Chances are that if you enjoyed 'White Teeth' (like I did) you would probably not enjoy 'On Beauty'. 'On Beauty' is really well written and the author's display of observational writing is almost flawless. But overall I think the book lacks both focus and the scope and scale to be an epic (as White Teeth was). Two characters: Zora and Howard come across too strong. So strong that it leads one to believe that the book was only about them and none of the other characters (contrary to what the blurb suggested). Having said that, although many pages were devoted to what Howard did, we never really get a glimpse into who he really is. The brief and intensely powerful scene where he meets his father is far more revealing about his character than all the other pages devoted to him. I found characters like Jerome and Veronica one-dimensional. Jerome is the geeky Jesus-boy and Veronica the slut. I think that was unfair on the book as a whole.There are lots of reasons to reach for this book from the bookshelf of your local bookshop but there are just as many reasons for you to leave it right there and reach for something else.