Review published on June 23, 2016.
Amanda secludes herself in her bedroom, no longer willing to face the outside world. Gradually, she pieces together the story of her life. Her brothers have had to abandon her, her mother scarcely talks to her and the Wacky Man could return any day to burn the house down, just like he promised.
This is a powerful, emotional story about a young girl with serious mental issues as a result of abuse at home. She lives in her bedroom, pulling out her hair one strand at a time.
Amanda’s father, Seamus, came from Ireland where he had a large family, many of whom never accepted his English wife Barbara. Barbara rarely intervened when her husband beat their young children in the name of discipline. Amanda is the youngest child and was born into a well established dysfunctional family.
It would be easy to ask the question “why didn’t Barbara leave her husband”. However, one has to remember that Seamus was the bread-winner and how could she leave with three children?
This book will break your heart. It is told in a totally believable way and tackles a difficult subject without any sugar-coating. Part of the book made me angry, part sympathetic and part very, very sad. It is a great achievement for an author to evoke such a range of emotions. As a debut novel it is amazing and one wonders where the author goes from here. Brilliant for a book group as there is lots to discuss.
I almost wondered if this book could be as a result of the author’s own experiences as it had such depth and a sense of having been there. ‘Enjoy’ is the wrong word to use when reviewing this book but it is not one to miss and I would recommend it as a ‘must read’.
Dorothy Flaxman 5/5
The Wacky Man by Lyn G Farrell
Legend Press 9781785079559 pbk 2016
ON MY MIND: Researching the past means touching the bad as well as the good says Sara Sheridan