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Book Review - Pretty Bad Things

 Saturday, 7 May 2011

Evening all, I did start this back on Wednesday or something but when I watch TV while on my computer I never get anything bloggish done cos my brain can't concentrate on US crime shows and think up a coherent review at the same time, Grissom, Gibbs & Co. invariably take precedence :P

Title: Pretty Bad Things
Author: C.J. Skuse
Date: 11/4/2011 PM
Source: Borrowed from the Library
Description: Sixteen-year old twins in Candy-Store crime spree. Twins, Paisley and Beau Argent are in the headlines again. Last time, they were the 'wonder twins', when as six-year-olds they were found alive in woods after three days missing following their mother's death -three days spent looking for their dad. Now at sixteen, life's not so wonderful. Out-cast and exploited by their money-grabbing grandmother, they're still clueless about their dad's whereabouts. Until they discover an old letter from him. That's when they decide to hit the road - and make headlines again. Holding up fast-food joints might seem extreme but if they can get on the news, and tell their dad they need him, they might get the dream reunion they thought could happen. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
I took this book out the library after reading the rave review of Rockoholic over on Jess Hearts Books. This is C.J. Skuse's debut novel and boy is it one heck of a joy-ride! Full of sass and sweet-toothed criminality!

Paisley and Beau were all over the news when they were just six years old after their mother killed herself and they went missing in the forest behind their house. Now ten years later Paisley is a somewhat maladjusted teen with a whole lotta "couldn't give a shit" attitude that has invariably led her to be expelled from numerous schools over the years. Her bitch of a Grandmother keeps her as far away from her brother as possible by sending her to the East Coast but after Paisley gets expelled from the posh boarding school she attends in Philadelphia she has to go back West to Skankmother's house in LA.

Now after reading pretty much the first chapter, I wanted Paisley to be my new psycho BFF. She is so dang cool and quick-witted that she can turn almost any situation to her advantage even if that means she has to deck someone or pull a gun on them. Her behaviour is so outrageous that I was literally laughing out loud and totally rooting for the Grandmother's downfall cos dude if that woman ain't a world-class bitch!

Beau was adorkable as the more straight-laced twin who was always a tad sceptic about the whole Vegas crime-spree idea but I gotta give props to the guy for being hard-core enough to still go along with it all while maintaining some sense of morality (I worry that Paisley's got lost a *looong* time ago). I also loved how clueless Beau was about his own good looks, oh if I were 5 years younger... :P

C.J. Skuse has created a fantastically bonkers story that has a really good message at the heart of it - Paisley and Beau are so determined to find their father after being estranged from him for so many years (partly through Buddy being in prison but also cos the Skankmother's maid hid his letters to the Twins), that they're willing to do almost anything to reunite with him- in this occasion that means getting onto the news by holding up a series of Candy Stores. Family is so important to Paisley that she would literally kill to keep her father and brother close to her, although obviously she's not gonna shed any tears if she has to off her Grandmother to achieve this.

The writing is crackling with humour and wit and you feel so endeared to Paisley and Beau that you don't bat an eye at how angry and insane Paisley is at times. I ended up reading this at a time when I myself was seriously angry and pissed at the world and its unfairness so I really empathised with the Twins and all the crap they got dealt in life. 

Between this book and C.J's sophomore novel Rockoholic (which I read two days later) I found a way to laugh during a time when I thought I would never want to laugh again and the world seemed so unfair for taking away my grandfather so suddenly. I was able to at least function and keep a sense of perspective while still being whisked away to a different reality where my situation didn't feel so devastating.

So a massive thank you to C.J. Skuse for writing two fabulous books which really helped me to hold onto my sanity during a truly hellish week that I would give anything to have it so it never happened. But as life is shit like that sometimes I've had to accept it and just try to keep moving forward with my good memories to comfort me when I think about that day one month ago.

C.J. you rock. Your book rocks. Your other book rocks (I'll be reviewing it as well soon). And damn I can't wait to read your third book in 2012 cos I'm sure that'll rock too.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

I know this review has veered into slightly personal territory but I'm sure y'all can understand that at the time of reading I was in a severely emotional state and that affected my reading and interpretation of the book so obviously that inter-relation is going to come across in my review. 



Katie 8 May 2011 at 13:53  

great review, random old school cover.

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