Silent_count's Reviews > Fury

Fury by Shirley Marr
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's review
Jun 02, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: commented, favorites, fiction

I sat down to read this book expecting a slog. A few hours later I was sitting in the same chair, having read it cover-to-cover, wondering what the hell just happened.

There's a couple concepts I need to share to explain this book. In 1988, there was a high-school movie 'Heathers', which was dark and unflinchingly vicious. Sixteen years later came 'Mean Girls' which was thematically similar but, for all it's celebrated mean-ness, it's what I think of as 'the sugar-coated Heathers-lite'.

The other concept, for those unfamiliar with his work, is the suburban dystopia of J.G. Ballard (RIP). He wrote about places and people who seem normal, until a closer look reveals the fabric of sanity unravelling just below the surface. In time, you notice the world they live in is closer to Wonderland than normal life... yet the further from conventional reality it drifts, the more 'real' it seems.

This book lives far nearer to the raw venom of 'Heathers' but is set in a mesmerising Ballardian dystopia - in reverse. It begins in an indulgant, high-school Wonderland of impossibly rich and pampered teenagers...

"Sure, we have scholarships for smart students from the povo suburbs, so you can get in if you’re special and your parents aren’t. But I don’t know anyone here who has a parent below a doctor, lawyer, CEO or self-made entrepreneur."

... and ...

"Somewhere along the line, the Parent and School Committee had decided that the air of sophistication Priory needed was a pair of golden gates, with cupids and cornucopias on top of them. The only problem was that the Parent and School Committee didn’t want to appear cheap by getting gold leaf, so they got solid gold."

As the story progresses you get to see some of the cracks in the veneer their perfect lives. And perhaps the people who live in this oh-so-perfect world are very human after all.

Our narrator Eliza is spoilt, unrepentant bitch. She opens the story by telling you she's a murderer. She did it. She owns it. And she's not sorry. For all her faults though, Eliza is engaging and easy to like. She's loyal and does what she she thinks best and doesn't whine or sook when it doesn't go her way.

The truism, "it's only against the rules if you get caught" applies to this book. It transgresses flagrantly against some 'things authors should not do' but I can only report having seen them in the rear-view mirror because I was too busy enjoying the ride.

At it's heart, this is a simple but well told story, populated with deceptively real characters and jagged but glittering prose. My only concern is that it's presentation may be a little too complex for easy consumption by it's target, the teen audience, who've been weaned on the literary 'junk food' of Stephanie Meyer and Richelle Mead. However, I hope I'm wrong because I did thoroughly enjoy this book and wish it's author so much success she that can buy her own house in East Rivermoor.

PS: Good luck finding a copy! Having read Maggie's review, I wasn't game to order a print copy. You'd think that e-books would circumvent the inventory issues with print editions... but if you can find a store that sells it, you're a better human being than I am. Eventually I reverted to the tried and trusted method of stealing my friend's daughter's copy - God knows where she got it from!

Sorry Steve! She'll get it back on the weekend, I promise.

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