Disturbing novel. Alice Mellings, the main character, is a middle-class self-described "good girl" who has inexplicable rages, lies, steals, lives in a squat and associates with a fluid band of would-be terrorists. Alice is great at reading people's feelings but terrible at attributing motives to them or doing anything except blundering further and further into danger. This book is hard to put down; I didn't like Alice but didn't want her to go down to destruction either.
Alice is a mass of contradictions.
Does she believe in the destruction of society or the building up? And which comes first?
Does she really want to escape her parents and their dreadful socializing parties or has she recreated them with her band of communist misfits?
Enter realist bomb-making Jocelyn-
What will Alice do now?
18/5 - I'm not a fan of well and truly adult women (she's 36!) behaving like innocent 17-year-olds. For the last 39 pages Alice has behaved like a fool; begging for handouts from her parents (50 pounds), verbally and nearly physically abused by her petulant, idiotic boyfriend Jasper and being generally annoying in her naïve belief that the council will ever take the side of some scruffy-looking squatters over the chance to make more money. Council greed, narrow-mindedness and stupidity is pretty much universal and unchanged by the passing of the years. Mum says I should, but I just can't work up enough energy to feel any empathy for a woman crying over a blocked toilet ('evil men' filled the bowls with cement in attempt to make it impossible to use the house as a squat). Why is she with Jasper? Her internal monologue suggests a strong, intelligent woman (despite getting teary over toilets), so why is she allowing Jasper to treat her like dirt.
25/5 - Phew, finished it! It was so DNFy that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to. It picked up in the middle, but then the last 30 pages or so, got a bit weird and left me wondering what was really going on. The conclusion was confusing and seemed to be purposefully tempting the reader to disbelieve what they'd read, to think that maybe Alice had been experiencing some kind of breakdown, and the majority of the book was all in her head.
Taking place in the 1980's within the UK, the novel revolves around a community of squatters who undertake terrorist action under the IRA. The novel invokes thoughts such as 'what does it take to be an activist', and explores themes such as individual morals vs group ideology.
Sarah1984 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over
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