Source: Netgalley review copy
Publication: 21st February 2019 from Borough Press
Until recently, Julia hadn’t had sex in three years.
• a one-night stand is accusing her of breaking his penis;
• a sexually confident lesbian is making eyes at her over confrontational modern art;
• and she’s wondering whether trimming her pubes makes her a bad feminist.
Julia’s about to learn that she’s been looking for love – and satisfaction – in all the wrong places…
Frank, filthy and very, very funny, In at the Deep End is a brilliant debut from a major new talent.
Don’t say the blurb doesn’t warn you. In at the Deep End is indeed extremely frank and deep down dirty. It is also gut achingly funny, tender, poignant and as a coming of age novel for the 21st Century, pretty unbeatable.I wanted something different for my first read of 2019 and In at the Deep End with its LGBTQIA affirmation felt like a great approach.
Written in an engaging and slightly naïve voice, this novel begins in a traditional enough fashion with a young woman in a relationship that is bringing her no joy at all. In no time, I was laughing my head off, recognising some of the more awful moments I have had with fleeting relationships. It was great to revel in the female camaraderie, enjoying the rapport and sharing that marks out a group of close friends. But underlying this slightly Bridget-Jones-ish voice is someone more serious. A young woman searching for her sense of self; grappling for the first time with gender politics and struggling to find her own voice and sense of self-worth.
I know young women who have entered into the kind of toxic relationship portrayed here. It feels valid and authentic and while this is ultimately a highly enjoyable, well written feel-good story with lots of graphic sex, it is also a vivid portrait of one woman’s struggle to assert her sense of self-worth in a toxic relationship.
Verdict: Funny, filthy, feel-good and frank, I loved this book for its authenticity and its honesty.
Kate Davies was born and brought up in north-west London. She studied English at Oxford University before becoming a writer and editor of children’s books. She’s also a screenwriter, and had a short-lived career as a burlesque dancer that ended when she was booed off stage at a Conservative club while dressed as a bingo ball. Kate lives in east London with her wife. In at the Deep End is her first novel.