Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Disturbing, brutal, horrific, lost for words, but a beautiful book.
on 16 September 2009
I am really struggling with what to write as a review for this novel, I finished it nearly a week ago and have sat down to review it half a dozen times and failed each time....
The novel itself is amazingly well written, its humorous and tragic, thought provoking and terrifying. But at the same time I felt that I couldn't really connect with Alice, in some ways I think the disconnect was the horror of what had happened to her and simple manner of fact description of the sexual abuse, which I found in no way prurient or sensationalistic. In some ways the descriptions where to clinical/dispassionate for me, I found many other parts of the novel to be far more emotional such as the descriptions of her travelling and her relationship with her grandfather and mother.
Reading other reviews I have seen many mentions of 'misery memoir' and feel that isn't a label I would apply to this book, in no way does the author dwell on her pain or suffering (although it often mentioned) that isn't the focus of this novel, that was her mental health problems and her relationship(s) with the NHS and various health professionals, which is where my biggest criticism of the novel comes in, I wish a little bit more time had been spent on this and the book had investigated how and why she reacted to the various professionals in the manner she did. I don't mean this as a criticism of her actions but more to enlighten as to the problems she faced and how she thought/thinks things might be improved.
At the end of the day this is a horrific tale of the struggle of a girl/woman to come to terms with what was done to her, its her personal tale and not a case study / medical text book. My heart goes out to Alice, which is how I would expect any reader of this book to react.