Genre: psychological fiction
Target audience: adults and older teenagers
A copy of this novel for reviewing purposes was sent to me free of charge by the author – thank you very much Renata for being so patient with me ! That fact, of course, didn’t influence my review in any way.
Camille Marie Jones seems to be just your average, shy, dark-skinned teenager who lives with her uncle Bob and have problems with bullies at school. Still the more you get to know her the more you think something is wrong with her and uncle Bob and all their little happy home. Why Bob never lets Camille go and play with her peers? Why they never watch news, just old, black-and-white movies? Why they listen only to old songs of David Bowie and Mama Cass? Why he gives her a bath although she is approaching maturity?
One of few Camille shcool friends, Ashley, disappears. Camille thinks she knows what happened to the girl but she doesn’t want to tell anybody because it would mean the end of her little world. However the end is approaching soon anyway – uncle Bob has procured a new girl called Giselle and is spending more and more time with her. Camille feels unwanted, jealous and old. Yes, you read it right – OLD. Out of sheer depair she does something unthinkable – she phones her mum – and all the hell breaks loose.
What I liked:
It was a novel told in the first person limited narrative voice which sent shivers down my spine. Camille was such a shy, sweet girl, somebody who deserved something better than a false household with a creepy uncle. From the very beginning I felt uneasy reading about their relationship and I was right.
Still the best feature of this book was the psychological construction of the main character. I don’t know whether Ms Barcelos is a psychologist but if she is not, she is clearly somebody gifted in this area. Camille’s reactions and thoughts were so incredibly right that from time to time I felt as if I read a report of a real person, describing real events. It was weird but in a positive way. It made me curious and I found the novel very readable, finishing it during one evening.
Uncle Bob was also a three-dimensional character, a baddie I would love to meet more often in fiction (not in real time though, really creepy).
What I didn’t like:
I admit that sometimes the narration was flowing too slow for my liking but these were only short fragments. I think it would be better if the author decided to add another narrative voice (the whole novel is rather short so it would be perfectly doable) – that of uncle Bob or Ashley, Camille’s friend, making the book more complex.
A very good psychological novel about physical and psychological abuse. Incredible characterization and a great story!!! Thank you for the opportunity to read and review it!