Saturday, 9 November 2019

Relatively Strange - Marilyn Messik


Forced to call on resources she didn't know she possessed and thrust headlong into the violence of a situation for which nothing could have prepared her, Stella’s suddenly face to face with the stark reality of medical experimentation and its horrifying consequences.

But in a world of uncertainties, she’s sure of one thing - this hero stuff really isn't her. Normal, or as near as damn it is what she wants,  and if that means smothering her instincts and adjusting her expectations well so be it. At least she'll know should she slip off the wagon occasionally, it'll be choice not chance, and to suit herself.

Isn't it a fact though, just when you think you've got yourself on track, events can overtake and derail you?

Relatively Strange, the first in the Strange Series introduces Stella; her irreverent sense of humour, the conviction she always knows best and an overdeveloped sense of justice. Throw into the mix a complete  inability to keep her nose out of other people's business and some serious psi abilities, and results are as unpredictably uncomfortable as you might expect.


What did I think?

Relatively Strange is perhaps the strangest book I have ever read; Strange by name and Strange by nature indeed.  Stella is such an amazing character and the way that this book is written from Stella's birth makes you feel like you've known her your whole life.  

Stella is a child of the 1950's and I was shocked to discover that her school days weren't very different from mine in the 1970's.  For pity's sake, for how many years did children suffer the boiled cabbage lunches and frog spawn tapioca and jam pudding?  I felt very nostalgic reading about PE lessons in the school hall with the bars along the walls and the pointless throwing of the coloured bean bags.  Of course, I hated PE and would have much rather been reading a book than doing roly polies on the mat but it did bring back some long forgotten, although not so fond, memories.

I loved Stella's Grandma and her Grandma's sisters.  I don't think it happens so much these days but many of my Dad's aunts used to mouth their words so that young ears couldn't hear.  The only problem was that nobody else could understand what they were saying either unless they were proficient in exaggerated lip reading.  The whole family dynamic and Stella's place in the family was very interesting to read and I loved how a lot of her family were blind to her abilities.  She couldn't possibly have flown up that tree so she must have climbed it!

When Stella's abilities become known, everything gets more sinister with the evil Doctor Dreck experimenting on gifted children.  Someone has to stop him before it's too late and Stella joins forces with a motley crew of gifted people who have a plan to rescue Dreck's latest patient.  It felt a bit like X-Men as Stella is trained for her mission and her fearlessness and bravery is quite astounding.

I bet a lot of people have wished that they could read someone's mind, when you wonder what someone is thinking or how they feel about you.  Well Stella has that gift and it's not all its cracked up to be, that's for sure.  It's actually quite sobering to realise that you really don't want to hear someone else's thoughts.  It's hardly surprising really if you consider how often you have negative thoughts about yourself, but it's always more hurtful hearing it from someone else.  Although there's nothing wrong with being different, it's perhaps good to be normal.

Written with such amazing humour and warmth, Relatively Strange is a very unusual, nostalgic and thought-provoking book.  I am delighted to see that Stella's story continues in Even Stranger and I look forward to picking up with her where we left off.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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