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little scratch

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  158 reviews
In the formally experimental tradition of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and Ducks, Newburyport comes a dazzlingly original shot-in-the-arm of a novel that reveals one young woman's every thought over the course of twenty-four hours.

little scratch tells the story of an unnamed woman living in a world of office politics, clock-watching and emoji-texting as she relays wha
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 11th 2020 by Doubleday Books
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Kacey I read Little Scratch on my iphone, not sure about Kindle, but within the Library app Libby I found my best experience was to deeply zoom in and trace…moreI read Little Scratch on my iphone, not sure about Kindle, but within the Library app Libby I found my best experience was to deeply zoom in and trace along the text in whatever direction it seemed to call me in...I have the feeling this might be an easier read in print.(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  707 ratings  ·  158 reviews

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Emily B
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Although interesting, the format of this novel made it hard for me to actually enjoy it, instead it felt like a chore and I was glad that it’s rather short. As a result of this unusual format, it’s probably not a book for everyone.

However this original format could be ground breaking for other readers and I have to say that the subject matter is important.
lark benobi
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
little scratch made made me work hard, and I'm not sure it has a 'payoff' in a traditional novelistic sense. The language is spiky and fragmentary and the storytelling style approaches its subject--a woman trying to cope with the trauma of sexual abuse--in a manner that mirrors that shattering dislocation.

Many of the pages scan like poetry, which made me want to slow down and read it like a poem. But then I realized that a faster reading pace--the pace of thought--was a much better way to appre
Roman Clodia
Hmm, this is a hard one to review because Watson is striving to do something fresh here in attempting to give voice to experience. The topic of sexual trauma is always an important one, and it's complicated here by issues of #metoo power and powerlessness, as well as the impact of rape on an existing loving relationship and with the victim's own body.

While I applaud the way this book approaches a crucial topic of our moment, I didn't feel that the writerly choices made here really move the arti
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Now longlisted for the 2021 Desmond Elliott Prize

look at me now lost in linearity, where is the freedom in my head, to not to only have to move side to side, stuck in straight lines every morning once I’ve arrived in this office, breaking myself in every morning, having to loosen the numbness
punch by punch
but yes I can feel my head loosening, freeing, it’s always this way, numbness ebbs, visits, interrupts, but always gets pushed down eventually taking my head away, but always giving it back
Reading little scratch was an adventure.

The creative typesetting in this book is a visual and experiential

! ! ! ! ! ! delight ! ! ! ! ! !

. . the
. . . . text
. . . . . . reads
. . . . . . . . diagonally.


We often navigate . . . . denoting what the . . . . . consuming
multiple parallel . . . . . narrator is thinking, . . . . on
columns of text . . . . . . reading and . . . . . . . . . . . screen.

A few pages in, and the text starts to feel very natural
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
[advanced reader copy honest review]

from the depths of the COVID-quarantine depressed cave I crawl to speak on this book. there's a moment within the text where the narrator Googles the rate of workplace sexual harassment and, as a reader, it reminded me of how devastatingly exhausted I am by the commonplace nature of this narrative - how woefully unsurprising it is, in ways, to pick up a book written about a young woman and find assault threaded through. Simultaneously, I am vitalized by the br
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
4.5 rounded up

The term stream of consciousness is bandied about a lot to describe books, but this is a true example of the form. Whilst reading I found myself trying think of other books to compare this to, and the only real comparisons I could come up with were Ducks, Newburyport (only ever so slightly comparable for the immersion into the protagonists train of thought) and Exquisite Cadavers (for the seldom used - in my experience - form of multiple vertical columns of text to indicate simulta
I love a circadian narrative and had heard interesting things about the experimental style used in this debut novel. I even heard Watson read a passage from it as part of a Faber online preview event and found it very funny and engaging. But I really should have tried an excerpt before requesting this for review; I would have seen at a glance that this wasn’t for me. I don’t have a problem with prose being formatted like poetry (Girl, Woman, Other, Stubborn Archivist, the prologue of Wendy McGra ...more
Bella Lasagne
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mama Mia! This isa the besta book I've evera read! ...more
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I feel so connected to this book.

In Little Scratch Rebecca Watson captures the disarray of human consciousness as a woman goes through the course of a day. Despite being initially unsure about the experimental format, I didn’t find it hard work at all. My brain loved the parallel thoughts and the agency this gave me as a reader. Whilst others have disagreed, I found the protagonist’s often self-conscious inner narrative believable and relatable.

In a lot of the stream-of-consciousness style book
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
look at me now lost in linearity, where is the freedom in my head, to not to only have to move side to side, stuck in straight lines every morning once I’ve arrived in this office, breaking myself in every morning, having to loosen the numbness
punch by punch
but yes I can feel my head loosening, freeing, it’s always this way, numbness ebbs, visits, interrupts, but always gets pushed down eventually taking my head away, but always giving it back (or do I wrench it back? ….

This debut novel will
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set over the course of a single day, little scratch tracks the thoughts of an unnamed narrator as she goes about her day at work. With a unique writing style which succeeds in capturing the ordinary chaos of consciousness, there is an immediacy to the book which feels more like thinking rather than reading what is written. I thought it was impressive how accurately the mundane was situated next to the private jokes the narrator has with herself, trauma and memories positioned alongside idle wond ...more
Paul "Axl" Hurman
Astonishing, exceptional writing. A superb debut novel. Already looking forward to seeing what comes next from Rebecca Watson.
Nikita Sudarshana Persaud
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book isn't for everyone.
The prose makes you work extra hard, if, (unlike me), you don't struggle with anxiety and spiraling thoughts, and thus settling into the almost manic, derailing thought process of the narrator would be quite jarring.

The narrator was raped. She suffers from an OCD-type PTSD. The stilted prose of spiraling thoughts that jump back and forth and down down down, is but an instrument to depict this very reality.

I saw an unkind reader state a child could do better and I c
Chris Haak
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected this to be a difficult read. The style reminded me of Kandasamy’s Exquisite Cadavers, which I hadn’t much liked. But even though the style may be more or less similar, luckily I liked Little Scratch far better. Its fragmented structure works very well here, it’ just the way the mind works really. And once you get into the flow of the story, there’s no stopping really, making it a fast, intriguing and extraordinary read.
Bert Z
Mar 01, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A horrible, ghastly, ugly book that is virtually unreadable. I cannot believe someone at a publisher actually said yes to publishing this, I cannot believe a tree had to die to print this, but most of all, I cannot believe that I wasted my time actually finishing it. I almost gave up so many times but I thought no I have to finish this so that way I can be justified in my hatred for it. Truly one of the very worst things I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.
Kristi Lamont
Dec 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish

This book gave me a headache.

And I don't mean a figurative one.

After I awoke from the nap that took me after I closed Little Scratch (my body's way of addressing the headache, I think), I tried to figure out why I struggled to get very far into it [p54 out of 202].

I mean, I'm not a purist; I'll try prose and poetry in any format it's offered. Example: I loved the structure of Lincoln in the Bardo. Heck, I just read Little Weirds by Jenny Slate, it was the book before this one, and I r
Apr 25, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Ebook, ARC from NetGalley.
DNF at 15%.

I expected this book to have a coherent story... with sentences. And grammar. And punctuation. I was mistaken.

If you like stream-of-consciousness poetry that takes a long time to get anywhere, you might like this book. I don't.

After reading the word "walking" no fewer than 50 times on a single page, I was uncertain I would make it much longer. After I got to a paragraph (rather, a block of text) that contained the single word "filing" 45 times -- uninterrup
Gitu Sharma
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Was sceptical about the format of the book but actually turned out to be quite a quick but hard-hitting read - she very effectively conveys what she set out to do - enjoyed it
Kim Marks
Nov 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I can’t say that I found reading this book to be a good use of my time. While the synopsis of the book said it was witty, in fact it was little more than crude. The *F* word appears at least 100 times. No, I didn’t count, but it shows up so frequently, even being repeated for half a page at one point, that it had to be that many instances of it. That’s not the only language issues I had with the book. I felt that it was all done in a gratuitous manner. The book also deals with workplace rape, ot ...more
Gabrielle Gean
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

I can't say I love it but I really enjoy reading this book. It is so different and oddly beautiful - it is kinda like a mixed of modern poems and twitter posts.

Little Scratch is very outstanding because unlike the traditional novelistic sense, Watson experiments with line breaks, repetition, and columns to express the unnamed narrator’s frenetic consciousness over a single day. The writing is stream of consciousness and has the trappings of a narrative poem — heaps of white house and
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Take one day, write down all of your random thoughts and you have the premise for little scratch, Rebecca Watson's unique debut novel.

The storyline centers on one day in the life of the unnamed protagonist, a young English woman. She wakes up, goes to work, and eventually meets up with her boyfriend later that evening. During the course of this novel, you're often reading random words (not sentences), so I had a hard time making sense of what was happening in the storyline. Toward the end of the
Professor Weasel
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The risks the author took in terms of writing this are very clear - it's a courageous book in form, style, and theme. In many ways, it is DARING you to find it self-indulgent, which is an interesting position to put the reader in (and one that some readers won't be able to handle). Dare to take me seriously, the book is saying (at least to me). Often enough, young women are not taken seriously, are not listened to. It is for this reason the book left an impression on me, and that deserves credit ...more
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This book was difficult to read. I appreciate the effort the author has made to mimic the thought processes of someone going through a traumatic experience, but overall, I’m not sure the author was actually successful. Many parts seemed forced and less like what someone is actually thinking, and more like what happens when you’re people watching and making up text for what you think they should be saying/thinking; I understand that’s what may actually be happening when one writes a book, but the ...more
Paul Fulcher
May 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
little scratch is an impressive novel, relatively inventive in form, as the author represents a day in the life of her character via her detailed interior narration, often with internal thoughts and external conversations in literal parallel on the page. and in content a glance into the life of a Whatsapp-generation twenty-something assistant at a media firm and an aspiring writer, with moments of playful comedy mixed in with an underlying hard-hitting message, and disturbing story, of workplace ...more
little scratch by Rebecca Watson

little scratch is undoubtedly a unique and innovative styled debut that I think will be a marmite book for a lot of people. You will either get along with the style or hate it as it isn't necessarily the most intuitive of styles to read. However, I did find it exceptionally clever as the fragmented language and scattered words are structured to mimic both settings, surroundings and thought patterns of the unnamed protagonist.



to mirror the young woman shi
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book will definitely not be for everyone. It's basically the inner monologue of the protagonist during one fairly difficult day. I listened to it which at times was a bit unnerving because of the style. It literally felt like I was inside someone else's head for good and for bad. So I give high marks for doing so very well. I cannot imagine how difficult that could also make it to read in print. Either way I found the book to be interesting, unique, and heartbreaking. Overall I give it a 3. ...more
Freya (freydawreviews) ✨
A very clever book that uses an experimental mismatched stream of consciousness narrative to process the difficult theme of sexual assault.

This book was really different. It was thought provoking and well thought out. I feel the book was best read in one sitting due to the nature of the style. The themes were hard hitting, and the idea as a whole was unique, making for a very interesting read from a novelist that clearly has great deal of potential. I look forward to seeing what she writes next
Alice Turner
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book may not be for some people, but it was perfect for me.

The style was something new and exciting to me with multiple sections running in and out of each other on a single page, but once I got the hang of it, I found it very easy to read. It was a great way of representing the duality of daily tasks and what is going on in your head. It was also a brilliant description of how the trauma of sexual assault like this infiltrates everything.

There was a strong flow to this book, and I read i
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