Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“I don’t want to talk any more about today. I just want to overeat and shit myself and die. Or shit myself after I die. Apparently that happens. And when you give birth too. Ugh. What a world.”
Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day, her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.
A kill list.
From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples and squashes her sliced loaf, to the driver who cuts her up on her way to work. And then there’s the people who really deserve to die.
This story had me roaring with laughter like the mad woman I am. It is 100% my kind of humour, for which I am 100% not sorry for. It’s certainly NOT your average humour, and it could very well offend and disturb a lot of people. But not me, I loved it!
So, in order to try and lead a relatively normal life, Rhiannon, creates The Act. This is basically her way of fitting in with her colleagues and her group of friends. (aka ‘The PICSO’s’. You’ll have to read it to find out what that stands for. It’s absolute class, and everyone has a PICSO or ten in their lives!) They have no idea that she is a psychopath with uncontrollable murderous tendencies.
The story is told in diary format, which I love because it’s so easy to follow. What I loved about it most of all though was the humour. It was dark, deeply disturbing and very un-pc. Worryingly, I heard my own thoughts countless times throughout!
“Got on the scales first thing – still not lost the Christmas poundage. Googled ‘West Country Liposuction’. Can’t afford it. Had an eclair.” (Yes! Cake IS the answer!)
Had I have read this in a public place, I’d of got very strange looks because I was laughing and snorting and nodding my head in agreement all the way through. Rhiannon, you’re a gem, albeit a murderous one!!
Without giving too much away, here’s a couple of tasters of her many Kill Lists which cropped up throughout the story;
1. People who walk in groups along the pavement so no one else can get past, like they’re fucking in Reservoir Dogs. (Why do people do this?!)
2. Middle-class people who believe it’s their God-given right to bring their babies into restaurants and allow them to squawk all through a meal. (Ugh, don’t get me started on this one!)
3. Interrupters. (Yep, totally agree!)
I know it’s a pretty harsh attitude to have, but I’m certain loads of people think these things, the older I’ve got, the less tolerant I’ve become, so these felt very relatable for me! Not to the extent that I want to kill anybody though, I’d like to point out!! Rhiannon, you’re my kind of girl. But I value my life far too much to be your friend!
C J Skuse has created incredibly believable characters with such depth and imagination that every single one of them stood out for one reason or another. Sweetpea was an absolute joy to read. However, it certainly won’t be for everyone because there’s violence, profanity and stuff that is quite simply, very, very wrong. But, for me, entertainment-wise, it was very, very right. I just hope the author will be writing another instalment, because, damn it, that ended on a cliff-hanger! I need to know what happens to Rhiannon next!
This gets a well-earned 5 stars from me, mainly because I can’t stop thinking about it and I end up chuckling to myself!
Oh, and here’s what would be on my Kill List, just for the record;
2. Upstairs neighbours who think it’s a grand idea to have laminate floors with insufficient underlay and 3 tap-dancing kids.
3. People who lick the wooden stick of an ice lolly.
4. The previous tenant of MY flat, who insists on getting ‘payday loans’ under MY address with no intention of paying it back. YOU DO NOT LIVE HERE ANY MORE. THEY WILL FIND YOU. AND KILL YOU. Or maybe just insist you pay it back in manageable instalments of £1.21 a month.
I’d like to thank the author, C J Skuse, and the publisher, HQ (UK), for the opportunity to read this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine!
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