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The Deepest Cut by Natalie Flynn – Blog Tour (Author Interview) 


I picked up a copy of The Deepest Cut by Natalie Flynn at YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention that takes place at London Film and Comic Con) last year. When the lovely Karen at Accent Press told me that it had been nominated for The Lancashire Book of the Year Award I jumped at the chance to find out what such a nomination meant to the author. 

Interview with Natalie Flynn 

For me, there were certain milestones that I’d always dreamed about in my writing career: Finishing a book, finding an agent, getting a book deal, being reviewed. There’s one I’d always thought I’d like to happen, but didn’t let myself think about too much, and that was being nominated/shortlisted for an award. 
When I heard from my lovely publicist Karen about the LBOY shortlisting, it was late on a Friday afternoon and I didn’t take it all in straight away. Over the weekend, I kept randomly bursting out “I’ve been shortlisted for an award” in utter amazement. It is amazing. It’s the ultimate seal of approval.
The Deepest Cut is a story that will always mean a lot to me. It began its life as a play in 2011. The novel adaptation wasn’t easy to write. It went through lots of ideas and lots of drafts before it became what it is today. But in all those drafts, I was always writing with my audience in mind – teenagers. Adam’s story is for them. To inspire them, give them hope, make them laugh and, hopefully, raise awareness of the tragic consequences of knife crime. 
The LBOY awards are decided on solely by the teens I wrote this story for, so the fact they’ve connected with it deeply enough to shortlist me for their award is the best feeling in the world. It makes all those late nights, frustrating editing days, moments of almost giving up on it totally worth it. I’m so proud to be on the LBOY 2017 shortlist and I can’t wait to go to Preston to meet these fantastic teens who put me there. Roll on July! 

Synopsis 

The opening of this story is a powerful one and does needs a trigger warning as it starts with our protagonist Adam attempting suicide. Following the event his period of recovery in a mental health unit sees him trying to find his voice after the trauma leaves him mute. 

Adam is immediately engaging and evokes empathy. He thinks he is to blame for his friend’s death but we see a young man full of anguish and unable to express it. 

The opening few chapters will make me even more angry if I hear the term man up being used to prevent boys and men from displaying emotion. Flynn portrays an excellent debunking of what mental health units are like. 

The award ceremony is next week on 8th July and I wish Natalie all the luck. Thanks for taking the time to share with us what even the shortlisting means to you. 

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill – Book Review #NOTAskingForIt

First Sunday post of my new schedule and I even had real post delivered today – on a Sunday! Uncle Vernon would be fumigating right now.

Today’s book created another unusual experience for me too – a proper book hangover. Often, after a finishing a book, I can just pick up another not long after  – but, not after this one. It hung around in my brain for a while and has been a tickle there ever since. Please note that this review discusses sexual violence against women so if you find that triggering please don’t read on.

This is my first book from Louise but it won’t be my last. Everyone was talking about Asking For It on twitter and saying how important a read it is. They aren’t wrong but, the fact that that’s true, is.

This is Emma’s story of that time she went to a party in a tiny dress, drank too much, took some drugs and woke up the next morning, in pain, on her front door step. Pictures emerge – online of course – that showed what happened last night and everyone, including Emma herself, is asking – was she Asking For It. You might even be asking the same question.

The book is written from Emma’s point of view and her view is heartbreaking, the responses everyone has to her are illuminated through her internal narration. The person whose initial response made me the most angry was her brother, he comes round, but I couldn’t understand why what he saw would make him think what he does. Some have criticised the ‘repetition’ in this book. I’d suggest that this reflects the type of mental ruminating that might happen after a traumatic event.

I’m not going to tell you the outcome but needless to say this will never be the type of story with a typical happy ending.

Asking For It will make you angry – at society and even at yourself. I knew what this book was about and even found myself almost repeating this question – in fact had the book not added the scenes that Emma doesn’t remember, it would have probably have been a very difficult case to prosecute. I remember seeing the film The Accused with Jodie Foster when I was a lot younger and this book echoes that. Who are the accused? Not the rapists but the girl who “let herself” get in a position to be raped. We really need to change the question from What did she do? To Why did they do it?

Please put yourself aside a few hours to read this in one go – once you’ve started it you won’t want to put it down…and even after you’ve literally put it to one side, figuratively it’s going to stay with you.

People ask why do we need feminism – because we call books like this important. Because the cover of the girl as a Barbie doll to be played with and posed is reflected on the cover of numerous magazines and in clubs and at parties across the world. I look forward to the day that the story in this book is seen as a relic of the past! How can we make that a reality?

I was inspired by Georgia Blackheart @GeorgiaReads review graphic. She said I could borrow the idea so I made some review tweaks to the cover below.

Asking for it

Next Sunday Guest post from author Holly Webb as part of the Return to the Secret Garden Blog Tour

Coming Soon Review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown – sneak peek – I bloodydamn loved it!

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