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Published January 14th 2018
What happens when you pick up a new novel by our very own Australian writer Anna Snoekstra? A number of things happens.
You get scared. You get shocked. You get disappointed. You get scared of humans. You get shocked by what pain little secrets can cause. You get disappointed in friends and loved ones, albeit fictitious and not your own.
Little Secrets is all about just that: little secrets, white lies, fabrications and cover ups. The truth does come out at the end. It comes out as a fire, as an onslaught, as hundreds of little bleeding wounds that would not heal.
Set in small Australian town, the novel is all about dying towns, decay and everything it causes and is caused by it.
There is an arsonist, a murderer, a secret 'do-gooder' leaving perfect dolls on little girls' porches. There is budding love and consuming hatred. There is ache for escape and inability to let go.
Little Secrets cover. Courtesy of NetGalley
In a sentence? I can't possibly put all my thoughts and emotions in one sentence. I was reading this book non-stop for a whole day. I was reading and writing down notes. Notes that I thought were important. Notes that I thought described the characters. Little did I know…
As the story unfolded so did all of the main characters. A girl, a best friend, dreaming of a simple life in a simple place with a husband to care for her and children to raise would turn out to be one of the ugliest and cruelest monsters. A man, a messiah, a protector, an epitome of masculinity, every woman's dream would unfold to be a bully, a sick and horrible creature capable of unspeakable things to satisfy minute desires and cravings. Yes, the story is horrifying. Some places are more horrifying in their simplicity, familiarity and predictability than others.
Small town mentality is worse than Stephen King's monsters. Small town that is dying of decay, poverty and crime is even worse. Everyone on their own. Town is a jungle and only the cruelest survive.
Little secrets cause big pain. Little secrets uncover big crimes. Little secrets poison the town like millions of infected paper cuts. Everything explodes in the end. Everything breaks, fractures and burns as the bodies in this story.
Once I finished this book I could not bring myself to sort out who is bad and who is good in this story. There is no clear division, no clear boundaries. It feels like everything that seemed good even though simple and limited turned out to be the worst and the cruelest.
The main character Rose manages to leave this town in the end. She leaves behind ruins of the town, ruins of the people she thought she knew and ruins of all the relationships she's ever had in her life. She leaves the place, but she does not leave herself behind. It will still be the same her… with her little secrets.
This book is definitely is not a light read. However, it is very engrossing and overwhelming. I've read it in a day as I could not put it down. I could not believe an unfolding fabric that was taking place in the story. I gasped and swore too many times along the way.
Humans are dangerous. They are cruel to each other
Book can be found in all good book stores. Readings have it for $29.99