Saturday, 23 March 2013

Bookworm: Click Click by Joyce, June and Paula Kavanagh

After the success of reading Losing You by Susan Lewis, I decided to give another book lent from my Mum a go. Yet again, nothing too cheerful, in fact this time the subject matter was even more disturbing - child abuse.

As odd as it may seem over the years I've read a lot of books about neglected children, people with poor or awful upbringings and boys or girls who grew up with learning or mental health difficulties. I used to read so many of these books my boyfriend used to tease me for being a bit 'sick in the head'. However, although these books cover hard-to-read situations, they are interesting and inspiring when you hear how the person has survived and has made the most of their lives and helping others as a result.

Typically such stories are told in the past, you join the main character on their journey through life, their character gradually develops and your understanding of exactly what they went through increases. This book takes a slightly different approach.

Click Click is based on a large Irish family, in which many years ago a number of the female members fell victim to sexual abuse from their father. Disturbingly 'Click Click' comes about from the finger clicking that their Dad Kevin Kavanagh used to do signalling he wanted one of them to leave the room and come join him in secret for the latest episode of abuse.

The girls suffered in silence for many years at the hands of this obsessed paedophile who would take advantage of any situation it seems to abuse his young daughters (from a very young age).

As I mentioned I have read stories slightly similar in nature before, but never before have I read about these events and felt so sick. At times I actually felt ill and nauseous trying to digest the words in front of me. Horrendous does not even come close to what these women went through.

So what I find hard about this book is these women who went through the ordeal have been so so brave and have come through this horrific childhood to try and help others and over time develop into stronger women and closer sisters. In addition, they pressed charges against this man and also appeared in a TV documentary profiling the experience.

The book is written in a mixture of ways, some parts told through Marian Quinn sitting in on sessions with the sisters, other parts told in present day, some told in the past, the narrator is sometimes June, it could be Joyce or it may be Paula. Don't get me wrong the chapter/section title does signify who wrote that particular part. However, I found this does not ease the confusion.

As much as I think these women are wonderful and it breaks your heart to read of their lives, in terms of the actual book? I am not a fan. The writing approach was so confusing and I found I was getting lost who was speaking, the constant jumping about meant I couldn't really get into the time/story being told before someone else and their experience was slotted in.

I know that parts of the book are told through Marian to highlight the progress the sisters have made and the impact that certain events have had on their lives, not just the book. However, the italicised sections where Marian 'observes'made me feel detached from the experience and almost acting like a psychologist taking notes on their behaviour and attitude. I found these constant snippets away from what actually happened cut me off from the storytelling aspect and made the book more a selection of observations.

It may sound silly but I do find it hard to admit I didn't enjoy this book, I felt I wanted to and should feel the book was a massive success for the sake of the authors involved. I agree they all went through hell and have done well to come out the other side, but the book itself is definitely not for me.

Good points
Takes a different approach to other books to try to offer something new
Good intent and purpose behind the book

Not so great
Confusing writing style
More observational than storytelling

Overall as you have probably gathered I wasn't the world's number one fan of this non-fiction offering. The subject matter was disturbing yes, but the thing that made it more hard to read was the style in which it was written.

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