Well, I’ve had a lovely time with Little Women, I thought. I’ve enjoyed a rollercoaster ride through family dramas and domestic mishaps and I had a blast, but I think it’s time to move on. Let’s go for something a bit more grown up this time. How about The Wasp Factory?
To say the transition from one to the other was jarring is a bit of an understatement. The first fifty pages were really difficult for me, and I found it wasn’t a book I could read a few pages a day of. In the end I had to sit down one night and power through all in one go.
I think my problem was that the first section was largely devoted to setting the scene, and introducing you to Frank and his family, and his routine on the island. It’s the kind of book where you kind of get plunged into things, but what you get plunged into is actually quite boring. Phrases like ‘the wasp factory’ and ‘sacrifice poles’ are bandied about without any explanation, and clearly you’re meant to be intrigued and want to keep reading, but I wasn’t really in the mood for it! I wanted to know, and I wanted to know NOW, so I kept sort of falling out with the book and putting it back on the bedside table after just 5 or so pages.
Anyway, once I made myself sit down and concentrate on the book it was definitely worth it. Frank declares near the beginning that he has killed three people, but that it was just a phase he was going through. When eventually he described the circumstances of the murders, and the method, I was absolutely chilled. All three of them left vivid, lasting images in my head that I honestly think will never leave me! Horrendously, none of the three murders were even the most shocking or horrible things that happened in the book. It got so much worse. In fact, when I finished it at about 1.30am, I had to immediately tell my poor husband the entire plot, to get it out of my head, and then I went on Twitter to remind myself that there are in fact good people in the world.
I’m not sure if I’d read this again. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style, which was sparse and had an odd turn of phrase, which kept jerking me out of the narrative. I’ve been left with some very vivid images, which suggests the description was very powerful, but are they images I want in my head? I’m not so sure about that…