Good morning my loves!
I am super excited today to be sharing my review of Stay Mad, Sweetheart by Heleen Kist as part of the blog tour run by the lovely folk at Red Dog Press. I suppose I have Danielle to thank for this one, as she was shouting so loudly about it on twitter. Thankfully, the tour had space and I was able to get involved. So without further ado, let me tell you a little about this book and what I thought about it.
* Thank you to Red Dog Press for sending me a gifted copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Title: Stay Mad, Sweetheart
Author: Heleen Kist
Publication date: 19 November 2019
My rating: ★★★★
Goodreads rating: 4.93
Genre: Fiction, thriller, political
THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.
Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.
Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.
As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.
But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?
You may or may not have noticed that I’ve taken on far fewer blog tours since the end of the summer, because of other commitments, I didn’t want to overload myself. The fact that asked to be part of this tour, says an awful lot about the book.
First, a little bit of contextual information for you. When I was reading this book, I had been off my meds for about a week (down to a nationwide shortage and not something I intentionally chose to do) and for anyone that has been on any sort of psychiatric medication, you will know that it can be really detrimental to come off them suddenly, which is what I did (again, not much choice). To stay that I was emotionally unsettled would be an understatement. The long and short of it is, I was angry. So very, VERY angry. So you can imagine the emotional turmoil I went through while reading Stay Mad, Sweetheart. Having said all of that, I think I would have felt as furious had I not been off my medication.
The #MeToo movement, at least in the circles that I spend my time in on Twitter, appears to have quieted down a little, so you can imagine how pleased I am to see that great books are ensuring that this most important of topic doesn’t fizzle out of human consciousness. Stay Mad, Sweetheart also covers other types of abuse that women face on a daily basis including racial abuse and sexism.
What can I say about Emily and her experience? Not a great deal actually. Only that it is a sad reflection of how victims are treated in this social media age that we are living in. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as the story developed. For her to have experienced the life-changing event that she did, and then to be re-traumatised by the behaviour of others was just horrifying. Unfortunately, because of the work that I do, I am all too familiar with this and I am gutted to say that it happens more than I would like to admit.
I really could write about the plot for hours and hours but that would make this an exceptionally long review and I don’t want to give too much away… So let’s move on.
To have written something so personal and yet so relatable is a feat that needs to be recognised. Heleen has created something exceptionally honest, dark and gut-wrenching raw but still manages to make it inspirational, though not in the way you’d expect. Stay Mad, Sweetheart really lit a fire up my backside (excuse the expression) and had me thinking about what I could do in my own life to try to stop this happening to others (having been a victim myself when I was 17 – thankfully, social media wasn’t as big then as it is now). I think education is key here.
This book should be read by women and girls so that they are aware that they do not have to put up with this kind of behaviour, and by men who desperately need to understand their behaviour and the impact that it has not only on their victims but the family and friends around them.
Bloody brilliant and necessary read for all.
Peace and pages