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Needlwork by Deirdre Sullivan

‘I would like to make things beautiful, but a tawdry and repulsive kind of beauty. A braver sort than people have from birth. Sexy zombies on a bicep. That sort of thing.’

Ces longs to be a tattoo artist and embroider skin with beautiful images. But for now she’s just trying to reach adulthood without falling apart.

Powerful, poetic and disturbing, Needlework is a girl’s meditation on her efforts to maintain her bodily and spiritual integrity in the face of abuse, violation and neglect.

 Needlework was a book I knew nothing about when it arrived through my letterbox. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I picked it up but I'm not quite sure I was ready for what I was about to go through.

This book is so very sad. Ces is such a lonely neglected character. It takes her a while for her to open up and tell her story and it comes in snippets but as you start to piece together both what she has gone through but also the state in which she currently lives it is hard not to feel for her. It made me angry at her both her parents so much as the story went on and also for all those other people around her that should have been paying attention to this girl who they didn't notice was hurting as badly as she was.

Don't get me wrong this book isn't perfect. The really long chapters bothered me more than they should and the writing style which flipped narratives sometimes from sentence to sentence didn't necessarily work for me and it took me a long time to get into this book.

All in all a very sad little book which you'll enjoy if you like Louise O'Neill's books.