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99 Reasons Why by [Smailes, Caroline]
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99 Reasons Why Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

‘Witty and touching’ Guardian

About the Author

Caroline Smailes was born in Newcastle in 1973 and now lives in the North West of England with her husband and three children.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 458 KB
  • Print Length: 203 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project (19 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006KWAI2W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,966 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
It's no secret that I love all of Caroline Smaile's books. Each one of them is so different, so incredible, that each book has stayed with me long after I've read it. Her new novel, 99 Reasons Why, is no different.

In 99 Reasons Why, we meet Kate Jones. Kate isn't like other twenty two year olds. She lives with her mother and her father and has a very important job to do for her Uncle Phil. She sits in her window every day and observes the goings on at the Kevin Keegan Day Nursery. Every day she writes down the comings and goings of the nursery in her notebooks.

One of the children, a little girl in a pink coat, catches Kate's eye. She wants the little girl for herself. It's when her mother and her Uncle Phil begin to make plans to steal the little girl in the pink coat for Kate that things begin to go awry.

The little girl in the pink coat's father, Andy Douglas, has caught Kate's eye as well and she wants him badly, even though her past experiences with love haven't turned out so well. Then there's the fact that she is Princess Diana's daughter, her father is driving an illegal taxi, her mother is sleeping with Uncle Phil and she will soon have her very own child.

It's a lot for a girl like Kate to keep inside. Sometimes she feels as if her head will burst with all the secrets that she must keep. However, even the most feared secrets will find their way out of the darkness and into the light.

When that happens, Kate's small, carefully organized world begins to unravel. And then eveyrthing goes to hell in a handbasket, faster than Kate can order a Princess Diana commerative pin from eBay...

99 Reasons Why is an absolutely amazing read from start to finish.
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Mar. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a weird book, in several ways. It's written in the first person by a young woman who's obviously several sandwiches short of a picnic, and set in the sort of estate most of us are thankful we never have to live in. From the argot, I presume it's around Newcastle, but with few changes it could be any major city in Britain. Warning to those averse to bad language - there's a lot of it here, and also some moderately graphic sex, but it's totally in character and not gratuitous.

The protagonist writes as she would speak. Random sample: "The leaflet'd come through the door with that free Herald local newspaper. The newspaper'd been pushed through the door and left on the mat for a couple of days. I pick it up and two leaflets fall out. One's a leaflet offering a free garlic bread if you buy two pizzas from Nice Kebab. It's all glossy. I go in the front room and give the leaflet to me dad." And so on. Now, this could get seriously tedious, but somehow it has the same oddly hypnotic pull of the TV in the corner of the pub showing some random European football game or a quiz show - you just can't tear yourself away. Not sure how it would play with non-Brits, mind.

So I more or less got drawn into it, and as the story goes along, the complexities of life on the estate and the family life of Kate, the protagonist, became more interesting. There's a sort of horrified fascination at all the goings on, which are fairly bizarre but just close enough to most people's idea of sink estate life to be credible (which I suspect may not bear any resemblance to real life). It's a testament to the author's skill that she makes these slightly cartoonish people real enough to generate genuine pathos.
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