Obsession and abuse – disturbing but unputdownable.

True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies

I didn’t like this book, but I did find it unputdownable!  It’s the story of a bad relationship seen through a young woman’s eyes. 

A man recently released from prison sits down at the desk of a young woman, a bored worker in a claimant’s office. She is seduced by his swagger and attitude, and later lets herself get picked up, submitting readily to a bout of dangerous sex in a car park. Over the next weeks and months, she wants more, and she gets it – but at a cost.  Apart from steadily alienating her friends, parents, boss and co-workers, she deludes herself that it’s the real thing, sacrificing more and more of her life in what will become abusive relationship.

Alison’s not my friend any more, I said out loud to the echoey loo. It’s official, I now have no friends. Even my parents hate me. I watched my silly smile fade in the mirror. As I combed my hair I thought maybe it was all part of the scheme of things. I had to grow up sometime. No one really understood. They all thought they knew what was best for me. I had started a new chapter. I was living with a man, for holy Saint Ikea’s sake. I was moving on. I was cooking stuff in my kitchen at last. Someone was occupying the empty side of my double bed. I felt equal to it all. But round the back of my little heart I could hear a lonely breeze whistling away everything I cared about.

Told by the un-named young woman, we really get into her mind. Outwardly she has all the trappings of a comfortable middle-class life; she loves her Mum and Dad, has her own flat, spends too much on her credit-card, and is slightly envious of her best friend Alison who is already married with a family. But emotionally, she’s not matured beyond adolescence, still likes to get ‘trollied’ at the weekends, and is unable to realise the consequences she’s set in motion until it’s too late. As for him – well he had ‘user’ tattooed on his forehead, but she couldn’t see it – while we may start off thinking silly cow, we do end up pitying her for her poor choices.

Written in short and punchy sentences in the first person, there is a good momentum, and the author has really given her protagonist a voice. While the plot may be slightly predictable, the way it is told made this novel an excellent read – we are emotionally manipulated all the way to the climax. A young author to look out for methinks.  While I didn’t like this book, I did read it in one unputdownable session. (7.5/10)

Pub July 1 by Canongate, 214 pages. I won this copy via a Librarything Earlybird Reviewers giveaway.


12 thoughts on “Obsession and abuse – disturbing but unputdownable.

  1. That sounds a little similar to The Bed I made which was on the last TV Book Club. It does sound like a page turner and Im not surprised you had to keep reading.

    • Managed to miss the TV Book Club – they do sound similar, although in this one she knows he might be dangerous from the start being an ex-con. The Bed I Made sounds intriguing though.

  2. Ha I am having the same response to this book as you left in the comments of ‘The Help’ – I am not sure if I want to read it or not, which is a weird feeling.

    • If you can’t decide and don’t have to read it, don’t bother – leave it for another time maybe – that’s what I’ll do with ‘The Help’ I think.

  3. Well, sometimes a book grabs you despite you’re sense of revulsion. It sounds like the author has the gift of story-telling anyway.

    • The quality of the writing was really excellent. The plot was a little contrived, else I’d have rated it more highly, but it did grab.

  4. Just finished The Bed That I Made and it is certainly worth a read, better than her previous book anyway.
    Two that have surprised me by how good they were are Cold Earth by Sarah Moss, which is very creepy and Emily Barr’s The Perfect Lie, which looks like chick-lit but is far far better.
    I found both of them quite hard to put down much to the irritation of people who were trying to talk to me while I was reading!

  5. I loved Cold Earth too. Haven’t read the others you mention but like the sound of Emily Barr.

  6. This book is actually next on my list – I’ll be starting it this weekend. What exactly didn’t you like about it? Was it just that the subject matter was disturbing or was it something about the storytelling itself?

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