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    • By iff
      Review of Clean by Juno Dawson
       
      Lexi Volkov is a rich socialite but in need of help because with the privilege of her father's money, she has a drug problem nearly oding on heroin and needing to be revived. Her brother Nikolai worried about her takes her kicking and screaming to a treatment facility on an island (For me, this brought images of Shutter Island but that might just be the island comparison. We learn later that the kicking and screaming is the usual way of entering. One of the trigger to her addiction is her no good, user of a boyfriend who did some art but prefers drugs (I use user in botht he sense that he uses Lexi as a cash machine and also uses drugs, which he gets Lexi to pay for).  We delve into both the past of Lexi before coming to the cause of her problem and her life at the treatment facility with the other patients and staff there. The patients are being treated for a variety of problems. There is a bit to the novel, it is young adult but there is a bit of swearing, and some hard subjects from drug use, gender identity, anorexia and such.
       
      When out of isolation, in the afternoons it is free time and for Lexi this means she goes to the horses which brings me to the unbroken horse Storm
       
       
      another point:
       
      I really loved Dawson's writing, it is funny but also a lot of heart to the novel. This was the second book of Dawson's I read and her first fiction that I have read.
       

      a very endearing and engrossing read. I think I read 180 pages on Saturday afternoon.
       
      * * * * 1/2
    • By iff
      Review of History of Violence by Edouard Louis, translated by Lorin Stein
       
      The follow on to the autobiographical novel of The End of Eddy and Eddy is now living in Paris and heading to his apartment after a Christmas Eve meet with friends for Dinner. He is stopped in the street  by a stranger and while Eddy tries to get away, eventually they both go back to hi with the night ending in Reda raping, assaulting and trying to murder Eddy.
       
      The novel deals with the event and aftermath, told through both Eddy's point of view and from listening to his sister tell her husband about what happened.
       
      This I found to be a very engrossing, heartfelt, afflicting read about the trauma of a traumatic event, trying to tell it to the French police the incident but responses of racism as the perpetrator was of North African descent, trying to deal with friends and family about the incident.  The narration of the event takes on a kind of slow motion in it.
       
      Definitely not a book for everyone but I did feel that despite the difficult subject of the novel, that it was an excellent, affecting and absorbing read.
       
      * * * * *
    • By iff
      Review of The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, translated by Michael Lucey
       
      This is a novel based on Louis' own upbringing, growing up in the 1990s in northern France (a small village in the Picardy region). To this life, Eddy is born as his father's first and mother's third child (her first husband died from cirrhosis of the liver). His father also seems to be going to go that way, with an alcohol problem mixed with a fighting problem. His father's alcohol fuelled rages often descending into tirades against homosexuality.
       
      Eddy as a boy is effeminate and this causes difficulty as where he is growing up, an importance is placed on the gender roles of masculinity and femininity (indeed this showed when eddy's father was annoyed when he found out in the home care job that his mum was doing, she was earning €1,000 so had forced her to give it up), role that as a boy Eddy doesn't fit. His father found it humiliating when he had to try to find reasons why young Eddy didn't want to play football. Eddy was also better friends with girls than with boys (later on when refering to boys he hung around with, he would use mates  italicised to indicate that he didn't really feel that way.
       
      Despite this, the homophobia expressed by his parents, there are some tenderness in their relationship and his father despite some protestations, does love Eddy as shown
       
      I could really identify to the problems in part 1 that Eddy experienced, trying to fit in in gender roles when you don't naturally fit in to them. Part 2 not so much but part 1 about the difficulty of trying to fit in to an ideal that you don't fit into, I can relate.
       
      There is a brutal honesty in the narrative which I appreciated. It was a novel I really liked and a real credit to Louis' writing.
       
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