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2 Dec 2009

Book Review: Killing God - Kevin Brooks

"Why do I want to kill God?
Reason Two: If God was dead, the shops could stay open later on Sundays."

Dawn Bundy is fifteen. She doesn't fit in and she couldn't care less. Dawn has other things on her mind. Her dad disappeared two years ago and it's all God's fault.
When Dawn's dad found God, it was the worst time ever. He thought he'd found the answer to everything.

But that wasn't the end of it...

Kevin Brooks - Killing God wasn't exactly high on my 'to-read' list. Actually it was situated around the 150 mark. And then I was planning to attend an event with Cassandra Clare, Eoin Colfer and Kevin Brooks. Having read all books written by the former two authors - Mr Brooks suddenly shot up to the number one position.

From the very beginning Dawn is very frank about herself, her alcoholic mother and her father - who's sudden departure two years previous leaves Dawn feeling resentful - not to him - but to God.
And so in a desperate attempt to make sense of her messed-up life, she undertakes a campaign to kill God.
But how do you kill someone that doesn't physically exist?

Accompanied by her dogs, Jesus and Mary, Dawn sets her sights high as she struggles to deal with her real-life issues. With a raw, honest voice that is both ironic and humorous, she begins to unlock the secrets of her family's past.

Killing God was a relatively quick read for me and I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit - but don't expect a happy ending.

Published by Penguin - June 2009.

28 Nov 2009

Book Review: The End of Alice - A.M. Homes

"Just because something scares you, just because you say this is awful and repulsive, it doesn't mean that it is insignificant." - A.M. Homes

The End of Alice sneaks us in the back doors of our upright suburban neighborhoods to reveal the impulses that even in our frank, outspoken times we don't talk about.
This is a tale told by a paedophile in his twenty-third year in a maximum security prison. He is intelligent; he is witty; he is profoundly dangerous. Beyond the reality of his stark cell and the violent perversion of the other inmates lies his imagination, which he turns to his past, to an "accident" with a little girl named Alice, and now to the erotic life of a nineteen-year-old suburban co-ed who draws him into a flirtatious epistolary exchange.

At home on summer break from college, she writes to the prisoner about her taste for young boys, her lust for one twelve-year-old in particular. She is inspired by the convict's crimes; he is excited by her peculiar obsession. Into the veneer of middle-class convention—the tennis lessons, baby-sitting, and family dinners—she casts her line for the boy. He bites. As her reports of their strange affair progress, the prisoner's memory unravels, revealing the appalling circumstances of his captivity, his deadly and lingering infatuation with Alice.

The intertwined fixations of these unlikely correspondents give The End of Alice its haunting, unsettling power.

A rather dark and sadistic first review for my brand-spanking new blog and though my reading is generally focused towards children's fiction, I sometimes veer off into somewhat darker places. And this is certainly no exception.

I came across The End of Alice a few years ago while I was working in a bookshop in Melbourne. A friend of a friend of mine asked if I could order in a book for her university course. Naturally when she told me about it, I was intrigued.
There's incest, homosexual rape, sex with minors - and that's just the base ingredients of the cake. If Homes has succeeded in anything; it is her ability to shock even the most toughest of readers. I imagine it would make the average reader feel sick to the stomach.

So why read it?


That is a good question. Unless you're a university psychology student, what would the average joe gain from this peverse horror? I couldn't answer honestly. But I think, every once in a while, we like to explore the very depths of the human psyche. And this is one such tale that is not likely to be forgotten easily.