Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review: A Fucked Up Life in Books

This book has the word ‘fuck’ in the title and its author has the word ‘cunt’ in her pen name. Still with me?

Its a series of snapshots of her life from early childhood to the present day and its settings include her family home, student accommodation, cafes, bars, offices, busses and  tube trains.
It has a supporting cast of family, boyfriends and work colleagues and its written in an engaging and at times conspiratorial tone that draws us in as if we were sitting across the table from her in a cafe or sharing the commute to work.

Where it differs from the legions of other comentators on everyday life is in the fact that situations of wince making awkwardness are conveyed matter of factly alongside white hot fury at everyday acts of betrayal and dishonesty. Here you will find the deepest loathing and the darkest thoughts but also heart warming kindness and unblinking loyalty. Then there is the author's highly developed sense of right and wrong combined with her complex moral flexibility.

Meet Bookcunt, an anti Bridget Jones for the social media generation.  Here are adventures in everyday life, refreshingly devoid of  a need to be loved and admired. There is no false modesty, no unspoken plea for sympathy.

Boyfiends come and go but constant features include the disasterous relationship with her mother, her close bond with her brother and a lifelong love of books, something she wants to share both with her readers and with those around her.
For me, where the book works best, is in the matter of fact, and at times dispassionate, retelling of explosive and life changing situations. This places all the emphasis on the dialogue's grim content, in very much the same way Banks's The Wasp Factory did.

While for many of us, speaking our minds when the situation requires it is an aspiration, for Bookcunt it seems like a lifetime vocation. I
t would be great to think that this is just 'Vol. 1'.

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