On behalf of Zoe at https://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/zooloos-blog-tours and Eileen Wharton, I am excited and honoured today to be reviewing Shit Happens. Thank you to Spellbound and Eileen Wharton for a copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
Rose Starling, abused wife, is living on benefits with her three children on an estate in a small town near Newcastle. Trying to keep one step ahead of the tallyman she dances in the shadows of various illegal dealings.
She’s got problems though when bits of her ex-husband keep turning up in different places and the slimey DI Savage seems to be bending the evidence to link her to the murder.
Adding to her troubles, she has to work in a topless bar to make ends meet and she’s being pressured into taking a “ job” for hard as nails Vera Devlin from the estate.
Desperate to extricate herself from the mess, she breaks into her old marital home to find the diary of her dead husband, setting off an explosive chain of events.
Set against a backdrop of Northern council estate life, this fast-paced, gritty, humorous novel exemplifies the problems caused by poverty, piles and unruly children.
Rose is in a whole heap of shit. She’s barely holding her family and her life together, no money at all and her abusive ex-husband has turned up dead and the investigating detective really seems to have it in for her. Trying to get herself out of the mess she has fallen into, she manages to create more chaos.
Rose is such a fun character. The story is first person narrated through her eyes and she is such a great storyteller. Despite her situation, she’s an intelligent and incredibly witty lady and I loved her sarcasm, honesty and attitude towards things that keep cropping up into her life. Her attitude is fairly positive, and she has a feistiness that is adorable. Through flashbacks and the motivations for her choices we also see a more vulnerable side to Rose. With Rose and other characters, especially Detective Savage, Wharton teaches readers not to judge other and that sometimes things aren’t always what they seem. For me the characters really bring this novel to life.
I loved the use of dialect and accent in this novel. It’s set in Newcastle so would have been very unauthentic to hear everyone speaking with standard English. To me it gave added depth to the characters and the setting and I could really picture everything. It was like watching a film, which I think this would work well as (or TV).
I loved trying to solve the mystery of the murder and the more I read, the more I kept changing y mind. It kept me guessing for a long time.
This is such a clever book and is also about social inequity and the impact this has on communities and people’s lives. Despite writing rose as a feisty woman making the best of a situation and despite having a dark comedy slant on the plot – Shit Happens is also contains a realistic insight into poverty and the wider implications of this. I live in the Northeast and the stark contrast between the financially secure and those struggling to survive is a reality many of us could easily find ourselves living. It’s a bit of a thought-provoking eye opener.
Shit Happens is a great read, very unique storytelling style and really believable characters. I loved it.
Author Bio – Eileen Wharton
Eileen Wharton is an Oscar winning actress, Olympic gymnast, and Influencer. She also tells lies for a living. Her first novel was published in 2011 to worldwide critical acclaim. And she’s won awards for exaggeration. It did top the Amazon humour chart so she’s officially a best-selling author. She currently has five ‘lively’ offspring ranging from thirty-three to fourteen years of age, and has no plans to procreate further, much to the relief of the local schools and police force. She lives on a council estate in County Durham. She has never eaten kangaroo testicles, is allergic to cats and has a phobia of tinned tuna. She’s retired from arguing with people on the internet.
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