FINDING KATIE (by Harmony Kent RRBC)
Five stars HAS to mean I love it – and I do.
Make no mistake – self-harming is a super-heavyweight topic to tackle as a work of fiction and, for some it’s not a subject they’d find easy to handle, or indeed even pick up in the first place, so this review isn’t a recommendation as such, because not everyone will want to read it. In fact, Finding Katie is what is known in the UK as a ‘marmite’ book – you’ll either end up loving or hating it… You will not however, be immune to it, and this is largely because of Ms. Kent’s brave and bold decision to write this in the 1st person, so that what you’re reading is essentially Kate Charlesworth’s inner narration. In her own words, and with all her feelings and fears laid bare and red raw as the blood she craves to sweep away the terrible, painful trauma that led to her being compelled to murder her own childhood on her ninth birthday.
So, in her own raging, wrung-out, at times wise-cracking and, at others, despairing words, 17 year old Kate unfolds her history, emotional blockages and self-inflicted wounds, sometimes viciously and then, in contrast, with humility, exhaustion and with an over-arcing vulnerability that will leave you appalled, breathless and as tender and battered in spirit as Kate is physically and mentally. Not an easy story, but there moments and flashes of dark humour, passion and a tremulous hopefulness that means it’s really very hard indeed to understand why Kate seems to hate herself so much, when all you want to do is hug her tight and be in her corner as she works her bewildered and often cantankerous way through the mess she’s in, to comprehending why she’s the way she is and how she wants to survive it.
Finding Katie, the little girl whose trust and happiness had to be obliterated from existence, is a storm-tossed ocean of a read that literally takes you to hell and back out – washed up on an isolated inner desert landscape where the only thing that makes sense is the feel of your blood oozing from the razor’s edge that you hold in your own hand. It’s a book that puts you on the inside and will change how you see ‘stroppy’ teens forever. Definitely not for everyone – read it if you dare and make up your own mind!