Little girl painting her toes in the mirror grapefruit pink “Daddy’s home!” but she pretends she doesn’t hear Monday rolls around and Mummy’s still got a swollen eye A week
later Daddy takes his pills again and cleans the counters and brings tulips home
It’s now July and the girl watches fat bees gorge on orchids She picks one that’s apricot orange
After school she rides the bus to see Mummy but the flowers are already rusting at the tips “Thank you sweetie”
Says the nurse “I’ll make sure she gets it when she wakes up”
“Breathe your gentle fire, dragon.
Emanate your warmth
Sending shivers across wintry flesh.
Hot blood coursing your veins,
Radiating onto cool skin.”
Alice and the Fly
by James Rice
It’s a book about an endearing boy named Greg, who suffers with psychotic episodes at the thought of ‘them’ (spoiler alert, they’re spiders). His family consists of an egotistic mum, an unfaithful dad, and a bulimic sister. Not to mention that everyone at school thinks he’s a psycho. We follow him in his day to day life of living in a dysfunctional home, dealing with people at school, slaving away at a butcher’s, and of course meeting Alice.
I adore fiction surrounding mental illness but this book left me slightly disappointed. It’s an easy read; the writing smooth and enjoyable… but I found it to be slightly self indulgent. Some parts of the book were very well executed in terms of swaying me to feel sorry for Greg; Alice’s dad and brother especially made me want to reach through the pages and hug him. However, often I had the urge to roll my eyes at the over writing of some characters and scenes; it was almost as if I was being told how I should feel about them. There are things that are better left unsaid. Also, Greg developed feelings for Alice so suddenly they seemed kind of out of place, but I guess it could arguably be an intentional part of his quirky and awkward personality.