One of the most harrowing books I've ever read. I don't think there is any other book I've read that has evoked more emotion than this one. No child s...moreOne of the most harrowing books I've ever read. I don't think there is any other book I've read that has evoked more emotion than this one. No child should be put through what Dave Pelzer was. I can't imagine how any parent could hate their child. An excellent read, if a little disturbing.
I enjoyed reading the first 2 books in this 3 book collection, but the 3rd book was a little slow, and it took me much longer to read...(less)
It was the cover of this book that initially caught my eye whilst I was browsing the books in my local supermarket. I think it's beautiful. Something...moreIt was the cover of this book that initially caught my eye whilst I was browsing the books in my local supermarket. I think it's beautiful. Something about it screamed "pick me up!" so I did.
This book is very much a voyage of discovery and as such I can't really say too much about the plot without giving spoilers. So I won't - the blurb is enough.
This is pretty powerful for a debut novel. It got me so hooked that I read it in two sittings - I would have read it in one but I started it before going to bed and I was so tired that I just had to put it down!
Although this book deals with some serious and sensitive topics, she does so without going into too much detail, which I think is a good thing to do in this novel - she's not preaching, she's not trying to offer answers or theories, she's just writing about it and letting the reader make up their own minds. Grace is pretty damaged, psychologically, and it's a very emotional ride as she tries to remember exactly what happened to get her where she is now.
The writing is brilliant. The author has really managed to get into Grace's head and the book is pretty much a stream of consciousness. The writing reflects how confused Grace is and, as she starts to put the pieces together, the writing gets more consistant and spends less time jumping between the past and present. Grace has many flaws, but the book wouldn't be what it is without them and, as much as I felt like I should hate her, I really couldn't. I guess it's because I related to her in so many ways. I think that's one of the great things about this book - most people reading will be able to relate to some part of her story. At times I wanted to shout at her and ask her what the hell she was thinking, but most of the time I just wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be ok. I was very emotionally involved in this book from start to finish, especially at the finish. It wasn't an easy book to read, by any means, but it was well worth reading and, despite the seriousness of the content, still managed to make me laugh.
I really want to talk about the twist, but I can't without giving spoilers and so I'll just say that I didn't see it coming, but once it was out there it made a lot of sense. This is the kind of twist that makes you think OH! and completely changes your whole take on the preceding story.
Cat Clarke is a talented writer and, after reading this brilliant debut, I can't wait to read more of her work. (less)
Being a teenager is hard enough without being moved to a new town and a new school where you don’t know anybody and no-one wants to talk to the new gi...moreBeing a teenager is hard enough without being moved to a new town and a new school where you don’t know anybody and no-one wants to talk to the new girl. Alice finds it difficult to fit in and so when she has the opportunity to go back to her old town for the summer she jumps at the chance. Whilst she’s there she meets one of the popular girls from her old school, who invites her to a party. Having never been part of the popular crowd, Alice is excited to be invited and accepts the invitation. Unfortunately for her, this proves to be a bad decision as this is where she is, unknowingly, turned on to drugs. This book is a diary of her ensuing journey with drugs and chronicles her life as addiction takes hold.
This is supposedly based on a true story, however over the years there has been some controversy over whether this is the case. Regardless of whether or not it’s factual, it’s an absorbing read. It was heartbreaking to see Alice’s decline as the addiction took hold and the torment she went through as she tried time and time again to break the habit. What is clear throughout is that Alice knows that drugs are wrong and she hates herself for needing them, but the desire to take them is, ultimately, stronger than her desire to quit. I really liked Alice and so I became emotionally invested in the decisions she made throughout the book and went from rooting for her to screaming at her in the course of a page.
I wouldn’t say that the writing is good, but then, if it is a true account, how good could you really expect the writing to be from someone who is using drugs? What I will say though, is that despite this being written in the 60s, the story is still very true today. I have been lucky enough to only have had limited exposure to drugs, however I know of people who have been down this path and I know the devastating affect it can have on the lives of everyone involved.
If I had read this book as a teenager, especially in my early teens, I can see how it may have seemed glamourous to run away from home and live the life of a ‘grown-up’ whilst still so young, however reading it now, I’m horrified that this may the impression the book gives. I think all teenagers should read this as part of their drug education, however I don’t think it’s suitable for younger teams.
Overall, I’m glad I read it. Although I know of people who have been down this path, it’s been an eye-opener to see it from their perspective. (less)