- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 36 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 3 Aug. 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003Y7N7CY
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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A Sight for Sore Eyes Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Francine Hill witnessed her mother being shot dead in her hallway when she was a little girl. Eventually her father, riddled with guilt that he was somehow inadvertently responsible for his wife's death, marries Julia, a psychotherapist who has been struck off for being too zealous in her concern for one of her patients. Julia's excessive zeal is transferred to Francine, who she sees as a disturbed child who needs to be ruthlessly protected from the outside world.
On the other side of the tracks Teddy Grex is growing up in an emotionally-cold household, where his family barely seem to interact with each other on any kind of human level. Teddy is determined to rise above all this and make something of himself, but he doesn't realise that his family's dire upbringing of him has left a terrible mark on his soul. When he's grown up he meets Francine at college and becomes obsessed with her beauty. Francine in turn sees Teddy as a sort of knight in shining armour, someone to come and rescue her from the clutches of her overbearing stepmother.
The terrible truth is though that Teddy is a murderer who has already despatched a member of his family to an untimely death, and is to commit murder again before much more time has passed. He also doesn't want Francine as a real flesh-and-blood girlfriend, but as a sort of living statue to adore. Coming unwittingly into the plot is ex-Sixties wild child Harriet, now middle-aged and locked in a chillingly loveless marriage with a man 20 years older than herself. When she hires Teddy to make some cupboards for her she gets herself embroiled in his life in a way that she didn't bargain for!
At over 400 pages long, this isn't exactly a quick read, but there are many memorable scenes here. The last 20 pages will make your flesh creep, it's like something out of a Gothic classic. It's grisly enough for a James Herbert novel! Teddy's fate, when it eventually happens, is truly disturbing.
This book is one of her studies of the psychopathic mind. It is also beautifully atmospheric, which is one of Rendell's trademarks. It has symbolism, red herrings, and dead bodies stashed away in unlikely places. I wish I had not read it so fast. I wishI were still reading it.
Teddy was a child who was never given love at all, not maltreated, just ignored, while Francine’s life was a regimen of interference and strict control. As a result they don’t exactly make a success of growing up, but for different reasons. Francine saw her own mother killed which induced a longish period of mutism. Later in life when she finds her murdered stepmother, she is again rendered mute.
It is the child who was never loved, Teddy, who is most affected and who grows up without an understanding of right and wrong. Since he is the centre of the universe to himself, he believes that whatever he wants he’s entitled to take, even when it comes to lives.
This is a very good little thriller with good characterisation (perhaps only a little simplistic here and there) a neatly finished plot and quite a few moments of creepiness and shudder. If I had a cellar I might want to have it boarded up. I liked it.