You can call me Ella. You generally assign me a whole host of other preposterous monikers. I think the least imaginative name I’ve heard is “the devil”, but I’ll answer to it if I must.
After making the courageous decision to leave her abusive husband, Perdie and her three young children start over and finally find the safety and love they deserve. But years later, when tragedy strikes, Perdie is left wondering if the choice she made to leave has led them to this moment.
If she were given the opportunity to take it all back and stay, would she?
In a frantic bid to protect her family, Perdie makes a deal to do just that. But in a world where the devil pulls the strings, can Perdie really change the past?
Brimming with enlightened observations and brilliant voice, Idle Hands is a haunting examination of grief, resilience, and what we’d give to spend another moment with the ones we love.
Idle Hands is one of those books that has you contemplating its occurences long after finishing it. The story of Perdie and her family really drew me in, as did the mysterious but intriguing passages from ‘Ella’ – or the Devil, as we would be more likely to know ‘her’… she takes us through Perdie and her three daughter’s lives with abusive father Matt, and a decision to protect her children which somehow leads to a tragic accident. This leaves Perdie wishing she could take it all back and do things differently, and Ella is right there to grant her that wish – but although this will make things play out differently, will it make things any better?
Therein lies the premise of the book – do different decisions necessarily mean that someone’s life will play out differently and, most importantly, improve, or can things end up the same kind of way regardless?
The book is split up into different parts, as we see one version of Perdie and the children’s lives, and then another alternative set of events. I found some parts incredibly poignant and I really felt for Perdie’s desperation to make things better for her family -there’s a lot of grief and despair here. I found that there were some characters I really felt a sense of connection with, and some that I wish had more of a presence in the book but, due to the plot, couldn’t!
Ella’s observations on human life and behaviour are incredibly interesting, as she offers a different perspective – but not always a positive one, so it can make for uncomfortable reading at times! She’s witty, acerbic, and cynical, but a lot of what she says makes sense. Her narration also left me feeling a little despondent at times; I wanted things to go a certain way but from what she was saying I knew it wasn’t quite going to be! Still, I rooted for Perdie and the kids at every page and hugely enjoyed (if that is the right word) the story unfolding. There are (unsurprisingly) some parts which made for tough reading but it was well presented by the author.
It’s hard to say too much about this book without giving too much away, but I’d really recommend this book – it’s beautifully written, observant, and thought-provoking.
Many thanks to the publisher, Agora Books, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.