I loved Mr. Pip so when John Murray, his publishers, invited me to meet Lloyd Jones I jumped at the chance. In preparation I decided to read one of his other books and because I owned a copy of Choo Woo it was the obvious choice.
Choo Woo isn’t a happy book. It focuses on ten-year-old Natalie who is sexually abused by her mother’s new boyfriend. Her innocence was touching to read, but I found her acceptance of the situation heartbreaking. The book wasn’t sexually explicit, leaving almost everything up to your imagination, but her thoughts and actions seemed realistic and this made the book more disturbing to read.
We also see things from the point of view of Natalie’s father, who is laden with guilt for not noticing what was happening to his daughter.
The simple, powerful writing was gripping throughout, but by the end I just felt deflated and sad. It came across as an accurate portrayal of an abused child, but I didn’t feel as though I’d learnt anything new.
By coincidence I have read quite a few books about child abuse recently and feel I could write a essay comparing them. Instead I’ll summarize with a little table:
|Point of View||Emotion||New Perspective|
|Room||Child of Abused||Bucket Loads||YES!|
|Forgetting Zoe||Abuser, Abused and Family of Abused||Trace||In Places|
|Choo Woo||Abused Child and Father of Abused||Lots||No|
Reading about any form of abuse is hard, but when it affects a child it is even worse. I think I’ll try and avoid books about the subject for a while, but I have found it interesting to compare them all.
Recommended to anyone who enjoys dark, sad stories.
Have you read any of the other books that Lloyd Jones has written?
Which was your favourite?
Lloyd Jones has a new book coming out soon.
Hand Me Down World will be released on 11th November in the UK (2nd Nov in the US).
I’m going to be giving away copies of this new book on my blog soon, so if you are interested in winning a copy keep your eyes peeled for my giveaway post.