Five words from the blurb: believe, world, constructed, books, explain
Calamity Leek lives with 11 ‘sisters’ in a large house. The garden is surrounded by a high wall and the girls are taught to fear life on the other side of it. ‘Mother’ and ‘Aunty’ impose a strict series of rules on the girls. These are explained in a book, along with a twisted version of history, which the children must learn by heart. As the girls grow up they begin to question their surroundings and the reason for their isolated life is slowly revealed.
This book was wonderfully atmospheric! The writing took a little bit of time to get used to, as the girls speak in their own dialect and have invented words for things, but once adjusted it was fascinating to learn about their life.
I was gripped throughout, desperate to learn the reason for their captivity.
The First Book of Calamity Leek wasn’t without faults – certain aspects of the plot didn’t quite add up and I was a little bit disappointed with (mild spoiler, highlight to read) the reason for their captivity. I was expecting a more profound, thought provoking revelation of a dystopian nature. But I’m willing to forgive these minor issues because the plot was so compelling. I was totally absorbed in their story, loved their debates about the outside world, and felt their conflicting emotions as they decided who they could trust.
The structure of the book was also very clever. I admired the way that some scenes were flashbacks and these, along with the fact that certain words were given different names, meant that the reader had to work hard to decipher the truth.
The originality of the writing style was refreshing and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little different.