Clarke's novel Undone truly deserves its success
Author : Cat Clarke | Publisher : Quercus
Flowerlily's review Thursday 21 November, 2013
I know people think suicide is selfish, and maybe sometimes it really is. But what happened to Kai was beyond what anyone should have to cope with. I didn’t blame him, not really. It just broke my heart that I wasn’t enough to keep him here.”
Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she's learning to live with it. Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online... and he kills himself. Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down...
I wasn't done with reading the back cover that I was already crying. Maybe I am too emotive, but maybe these few lines also remembered me too much what I had already lived in the past. Just as if somebody was having fun rubbing salt in my wounds.
When I bought Undone, I was afraid of reading it: on one side, I was scared that the feelings described by the author don't seem realistic compared to those I have felt; on the other side, I feared that the text would be too realistic, and that it remembers me too much of the past...
Second option was more likely. Even if the feelings of the heroine don't take too much place in the book, because of the will of revenge that burns her, her pain is still palpable.
Bloggers praise this novel, and I have to admit that it bothers me to do the same, but I have no other choice. Undone is touching, shattering, not as dark as the back cover could indicate.
The characters - Jem and Kai - are very attaching, and their relationship, as described by Jem, is really moving. We feel close to the young girl, we understand her and follow her on the tracks of the responsibles of Kai's death. The narration alternates with some letters Kai left to his best friend, one per month.
What is the most unsettling in this reading is knowing the story is perfectly realistic and quite common, that it could happen to you, your cousins, your children... Becoming aware of how one human life could be broken through the eyes of others is sickening. The author stays very simple but effective with her writing, using unpretentious words and structures to reach at best her readers.
This novel shall not be missed. Even if you believe you're out of the "young adults" category.