Title: Strange Sally Diamond
Author: Liz Nugent
Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died.
Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and worried police, but also a sinister voice from a past she has no memory of. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, recluse Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends, finding independence, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say.
But when messages start arriving from a stranger who knows far more about her past than she knows herself, Sally’s life will be thrown into chaos once again…
Strange Sally Diamond was fairly different from the book I expected, but I hugely enjoyed it. It’s a dark story which is emotionally challenging at times – there are some serious topics addressed including violence, sexual and physical abuse, and more – but well rewarding because Sally is such a great character.
She has been described as ‘socially deficient’ and is well aware that people in her community and around her think she’s different and perhaps a little odd, but she is who she is. She takes things literally, doesn’t always behave as people would expect in social situations, and very much tells it like it is, and I thought she was brilliant. There is quite an array of people in this novel, some of whom are definitely not likeable, but Sally shines through.
I really enjoyed reading about Sally’s development as she deals with her father’s death and finds out more about her shocking start to life. As more threads are pulled and we discover more and more clues, we realise that Sally’s life started in a truly appalling way.
Strange Sally Diamond effortlessly blends an emotional, character-focused plot with hints of humour, darkness and mystery, making a complex and absorbing novel. Definitely recommended.
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher, Viking, for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest review.
Strange Sally Diamond is released in the UK on 2 March. Pre-order on bookshop.org or Amazon.