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99 Reasons Why,
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This review is from: 99 Reasons Why (Kindle Edition)This novella is subtitled, "how not to steal a child, in multiples of eleven" and it has nine possible endings, with two others to be discovered through the authors webpage. I was not sure what to make of the idea of having different endings to choose from and, have to admit, that I purchased the book out of curiosity. Even having read it I am not sure whether to laugh or cry, as it paints a hopeless and depressing portrait of an estate and a part of Britain I have trouble believing can truly be that awful. Of course, it is an exaggeration, but there is enough that is recognisable to make the story truly disturbing.
Kate is twenty two and lives with her mum and dad opposite the Kevin Keegan Day Nursery (so presumably we are in Newcastle). However, it is hard to take anything for real here, as Kate is confused herself about who she is and where she comes from. Her dad is not her dad and she believes her real dad is Uncle Phil, who is a 'leader' and sorts things out. Her mum claims she is not really her mum and that she was stolen from her real mother, who was Princess Diana. This fantasy plays out with both Kate and her mum spending much time and money on ebay purchasing Diana memorabilia, despite the fact that her dad is on sick leave and Katy's 'job' is watching the nursery acorss the road, where kiddies are 'dumped' from 7:30am until 6:00pm and making detailed notes about what happens there.
This is a place where Kate's only friend is a young girl who fled her last house because of a violent father, where eating disorders are seen as glamorous, celebrity is worshipped, young children imitate adults with insulting gestures and romance has been replaced with unwanted pregnancies. Into this bizarre world, Kate sees Andy Douglas dropping off his young daughter at the nursery and a chance comment leads Uncle Phil to think about stealing her.
At the end of this jaw dropping novella you must pick a colour, a number and an object and choose your ending. You can then pick another ending, so you can see all the possible scenarios. I have to say it is brilliantly written and, yes, it is dark and almost painful to read at times, but wonderfully done. I literally could not put it down until I had finished it and I am sure it will cause a lot of talking points and be a fantastic choice for a book club looking for something different.