New Animal – Ella Baxter

Published By: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 212
Released On: 17/02/2022

It’s not easy getting close to people, Amelia’s meeting a lot of men but once she bets the sex she wants from them, that’s it for her; she can’t connect further. A terrible thing happened to Daniel last year and it’s stuck inside Amelia ever since, making her stuck too. Maybe being a cosmetician at hr family’s mortuary business isn’t the best job for a young woman, It’s not helping her social life. She loves her job, but she’s not great at much else. Especially emotion.

And then something happens to her mum and suddenly Amelia’s got too many feelings and the only thing that makes any sense to her is running away. It takes the intervention of her two fathers and some hilariously wrong encounters with other broken people in a struggling Tasmanian BDSM club to help her accept the truth she has been hiding from. And in a final, cataclysmic scene, we learn along with Amelia that you need to feel another person’s weight before you can feel your own.

*****

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for an advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I’ve heard mixed things about this book. The general consensus is it is a powerful story and is well written, but the subject matters are hard to read and can make the reader uncomfortable, so I was when on the fence when I started.

It is brutal – no beating around the bush here. Everything is so honestly written, whether nice or not, but it is not always as expected. Sex – often depicted as beautiful – is seen in a natural and awkward state, often used as a drug; death – often seen as scary and taboo – is seen as a blessing and a positive. Her depiction of death and grieving is hard to read for those unaccustomed, but for someone who has experienced deep loss, it is all too real.

I admit it is not an easy book to read and it’s not for everyone, so I will leave it to you to decide if it’s your cup of tea, but I do feel all the better, all the more open, the more free, for reading it.

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