Within a week, I have read two brilliant debut novels featuring violence and abuse.
I’m not going to lie, I need a break. If anyone can recommend me something light-hearted please, I am all ears. Thanks!
Without further ado, let’s have a look at Sticks and Stones.
Firstly, I would like to consult GoodReads for their quick summary of Sticks and Stones:
How far would you go for revenge on your ex?
Imogen’s husband is a bad man. His ex-wife and his new mistress might have different perspectives but Imogen thinks she knows the truth. And now he’s given her an ultimatum: get out of the family home in the next fortnight or I’ll fight you for custody of our son.
In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable. Something that puts her in control. But how far will she go to protect her son and punish her husband? And what will happen when his ex and his girlfriend get tangled up in her plans?
Sticks and Stones is a deliciously twisting psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.
Sticks and Stones starts with Philip’s funeral.
Amongst those paying their respects are Imogen, Philip’s estranged wife, Naomi, his girlfriend and Ruby, his ex-wife.
The plot is about how Philip happened to end up in a funeral casket. We know who died but we don’t know how and why.
Sticks and Stones is narrated by Imogen with occasional flashbacks from other two women. The beginning is on a slow side, but the story starts picking up around mid-way. I became extremely involved then and literally could not put this book down.
The gripping tension is skilfully sustained throughout certain parts of the story, and the outcome can go either way. I almost wish I didn’t know who was at the funeral! 🙂 Knowing about it though did not prevent me from enjoying the entire story!
What I loved about this book are those three female characters and the unlikely friendship they form.
They all endured some form of an abuse and could find a common ground whilst sharing their stories. Because of that, they can start letting go of their pasts and heal.
Then there is Philip’s character. A broken man full of anger, who is still living in some sort of an emotional childhood. A narcissistic master manipulator preying on those women, who don’t have anyone to turn towards to in times of distress.
I also saw in this book an anti-revenge message.
In all honesty, I am sick of books about revenge. Many books glorify revenge, yet they omit to deliver the after-revenge story. Revenge may certainly bring a temporary feeling of satisfaction but in the long run, it never heals the underlying problem. I’m not saying that justice cannot be served, all I’m saying is that forgiving someone is for our own sake to start the healing process, not for theirs to make them feel better. They even don’t have to know that we have forgiven them…
We can see how revenge starts destroying one character in the book. On the other hand, another character starts exploring forgiveness and starts healing.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world to hold a grudge, but it takes a strong person to forgive.”
I hope you will enjoy Sticks and Stones as much as I did. It’s a wonderful psychological thriller and I will be on a lookout out for Jo Jakeman’s next book.
Possible triggers: domestic / partner abuse and abuse in general.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Jo Jakeman, and the publisher, Random House UK, Vintage Publishing.