A terrific read that touches more of us than we would care to admit.
This coming of age story is set in the small towns of Warkworth and Pukekoke and has a warm familiar touch, as does the subject matter. This novel asks the question – ‘When you hate your body. How can you love yourself or anyone else?’ Research shows that over 40% of woman are consumed by this question but few overcome the shame to acknowledge or explore their irrational actions that frequently result.
In this extraordinarily honest novel, local writer Josie Laird explores the body image topic and the fallout that haunts a young woman who is seeking her own identity and place in the world. Kate is believable and relatable to all those whose ‘rub together’ thighs don’t meet the Twiggy/Kate Moss yard stick of our own self-imagined and media driven skinny ideal … ‘Kate glared at her thunderous thighs, spread out on the beige wicker seat of the stool. Black was supposed to be a slimming colour. She could picture the dimples beneath her tights, looking like the surface of a pale tan golf ball.’
I wish this novel had been on the shelf when I was an insecure teenager with exactly Kate’s outlook on the world. This book would sit well in the YA genre as well as being an insightful read for adults.
The story is fast moving and very readable with a memorable cast who are expertly woven into an interesting nature vs nurture debate. We are front seat and central as Kate straddles the worlds between her birth and adopted families and allows her poor self-esteem to sabotage her relationships with those who love her best.
Karen McMillan describes the book … ‘All About Kate is an engaging and thought-provoking debut novel, about a young woman who embarks on a voyage of self-discovery. Josie Laird touches on serious topics with a light touch in this well-crafted book.’
This is an all-round excellent read. I look forward to Josie Laird’s second novel The Gift of Words which is due for release in late March and explores the themes of literacy, meth addiction and active grandparenting.
Reviewed by Kirsty Powell.