True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies

I am a little disorientated.

You see, Deborah Kay Davies picked me up and pulled me into the mind of another woman. I couldn’t quite understand her, her circumstances, her emotions, her actions, but I cared, and I wished that I could.

And now I am back. Moved, puzzled, disturbed, still asking questions, and not quite able to let go.

She worked for the DWP. Dealing with the public. A soul-destroying job. She must have seen the worst side of human nature rather more often than the best.

She saw a man. An ex convict. A man with a past. Not good. But something pulled her towards him. I could only think that it was a coup de foudre. Their relationship was quickly consumated in the car park and he took over her life.

I wanted to scream at her. I wanted to shake her. Where was her mind?

But she tumbled into an abusive relationship with a manipulative, controlling man, who treated her like dirt, but knew how to keep her hanging on.

She lost everything. Her parents. Her friends. Her job. Her possessions.

At first I thought she was just a stupid girl, who didn’t think, who didn’t know where to draw the line. Who had no self esteem.

But then I began to wonder.

She had a decent job, her own home, enough resources no not panic when her job disppeared. How did she get to where she was? What had happened in her past?

Her parents were worried, but they didn’t know what to do, how to reach out, how to help. Were they simply older parents who hadn’t quite understood the ways of the modern world? Or did they have particular reasons to worry for their daughter?

And then there was her friend. A good friend who tried to talk sense, who did her best for her. That I had to applaud. But why would she leave her child with her friend when she was in such a mess. There was definitely something, some understanding. What did she know, what did she see, that I didn’t?

I sawa woman, breaking down. A woman in trouble. 

At first I thought she was young and stupid. But then I thought maybe she was older and troubled.

Who was she? Where did she come from? 

Was she damaged or stupid or both?

Would she realise she was in trouble? Could she change things?

It takes real skill for an author to pull you into a book like this, to places you really don’t want to visit. Deborah Kay Davies does just that, and does it brilliantly.

Her style is direct, literate and very, very readable. There is a lot of darkness, but there are flashes of light, moments of black humour, and some wonderful, wonderful descriptions.

I wanted to read on. I wanted to scream at this maddening, infuriating woman, to somehow make her see reason. I wanted to do something.

And now it is over, but she hasn’t left me, and my mind is still buzzing.

9 responses

  1. I sort of like books like this–where you alternately appreciate a character and are maddened by them. It makes for interesting reading. I think it is a good author who pulls it off–that you keep going even though you sort of don’t want to! I’d not heard of this one–I will have to see if I can get it over here!

    • Danielle, this is the best book of its kind I have read for ages. Deborah Kay Davies had some positive press – one of the BBC’s top twelve new novelists for World Book Night – so hopefully this one will get published in your part of the world.

  2. I read all of your reviews linked at Semicolon today, and I must give you a compliment: your reviews are very well written and engaging. I often have trouble putting into words what I liked about a book or where the book went wrong for me. You seem to have the ability to verbalize the strengths and weaknesses of the books you’re reviewing and to show me why I might want to read any given book. I quite enjoyed reading all of your reviews today.

    • Thank you for your kind words Sherry, and for providing such a good forum for finding bloggers and books that I might not meet any other way.

  3. I do love books that provoke emotions like this. It sounds like I might hate this book, but in a good way! Anything that leaves you thinking is good – even if you do want to scream! When I first heard about this book I thought it might make the Orange list. Sounds like it deserved to be there – I’ll have to read it at some point.

    • You really could go either way with this book, but if you can accept obsessive love making somebody go off the rails I think you will appreciate the writing and all of the questions thrown up. And yes, it felt like an Orange book to me.

  4. Pingback: True Things About Me – Deborah Kay Davies | Savidge Reads

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