Sunday, 9 October 2016
Review: The Butcher's Hook by Janet Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Here's the short review: If you like dark, realistic stories that punch you in the face with characters that will probably (I said probably, so they still might get a happy end, technically I haven't spoiled anything) not get a traditional happy ending, then you'll like this book.
Now, here's the long review: So we start off by following this young girl from very early childhood to adolescence. The book starts off sweet and innocent, but the language gradually shifts to darker tones, and coarseness. As a psychology major this novel was like fuel for my brain, I read this for leisure, but I couldn't help myself to some serious psychoanalyzing of this incredibly damaged girl.
In a different time, with different people surrounding her, Anne could have been a very kind girl. In fact, she WAS a very kind girl. At first, Anne is a product of her environment, she is a compassionate child abused into a cold, immoral lady. Her innocent curiosity transformed into an unempathetic attraction to the macabre aspects of science, her cleverness and wit transformed into manipulation and deception.
Anne is a girl trapped in a world that has forced her into a position that forces her to do things she does not wish to do, she resorts to drastic measures to get out of her situation.
But once she commits her "evil deeds", she gets a taste of freedom, and even during the few times she wishes to stop. Her world ends up forcing her to resort to more drastic measures, and before you know it, you have a girl that has achieved freedom in an unhealthy way, and she doesn't know any other way to achieve it, so she can't stop.
In the end, Anne becomes a person that is not only the product of her environment, but also the product of her own actions.
That isn't to say that she is amoral, though. Many times, she shows sadness to how an animal is treated, or how a child is beaten. But, whenever she helps someone and they don't show some sort of gratitude she very easily switches over into the role of the abuser. This is probably because she has spent too many years deprived of affection, so she craves it from the people around her. When she doesn't receive it she becomes enraged, and when she does, she becomes wary and distrustful.
I know this has been more of a character analysis than anything, but truth be told, Anne IS the book. Every other character is seen through her eyes, and since she is so hyper critical of everyone, all the other characters end up sounding awful. When in reality, Anne is actually a very untrustworthy narrator. The only one she speaks highly of is Fub.(view spoiler)[ But, only temporarily. As soon as he stops living up to her imagination, she drops him with no thought. (hide spoiler)]
Spoilers (I can't really review the book part of this book without mentioning the ending):
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