Saturday 30 November 2019

BLOG TOUR: Stay Mad, Sweetheart - Heleen Kist


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?

A pacy suspense fiction with its feet firmly in the #MeToo era. 9 to 5 meets Suits with a dash of Black Mirror.

What did I think?

I haven't read many feminist novels (shame on me) but I was drawn to this book not only by its subject matter but by its comparison to the TV show Suits.  Although the comparison is obvious, there is definitely more drama, skullduggery and ambition in Stay Mad, Sweetheart than there is in a whole series of Suits.  Stay Mad, Sweetheart would make an amazing series and I hope it gets snapped up for TV.

Laura is my favourite character as she most resonated with me.  Laura just wants to do a good job and feel valued without having to compare her worth to her co-workers.  Nothing good ever came out of opening that Pandora's box but I know that such inequality still goes on and it saddens me.  I loved how Laura went on a crusade to identify the cyberbullies who made her friend's life a living hell.  I've always said, it's not so much the person who fires the gun as the one who provides the bullets; the people who launch a virtual hand-grenade and then step back while others do the damage.  If only a real-life Laura existed who could identify these cowardly cretins.

Anger is the overriding emotion that I experienced a lot throughout the book, especially at the way Claire and Suki were discriminated against at work.  Suki in particular has to put up with blatant sexism and racism in the corporate finance world and is constantly patronised even though she is a financial whizz.  I'm a little naive sometimes so I was horrified to learn how derogatory Suki's nickname was, as I have heard people being called this in the real world.  

Now it's not all burning bras and misandry as there is a scene where Claire and her friends ogle a hunky plumber in a cafe.  It struck me as very different to how women are treated by men as the women keep their opinions within their group and the man was none the wiser.  If it was the other way round, a group of men would be wolf whistling and making suggestive comments out loud to a beautiful woman, making her feel uncomfortable.  I know this doesn't apply to all men and I'm generalising here but it just shows the difference between the sexes; men really are from Mars.

Mad by name and mad by nature; this exceptional book will incite your fury.  It's a feminist novel for the digital age and I think Margaret Atwood will be kicking herself that she hadn't written it herself; I can see this replacing or maybe accompanying The Handmaid's Tale in the school curriculum in the not too distant future.  A must read thought-provoking book that everyone (no discrimination) should read.  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon
Buy it from Red Dog Press

About the author:

Heleen Kist has been fondled, patronised and ordered to smile by random men. So she wrote ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’, a feminist tale of revenge. Whilst her professional knowledge of technology start-ups fed the novel’s setting, its theme of harassment and workplace discrimination required no research: it is familiar to all women.

Heleen was chosen as an up and coming new author at Bloody Scotland 2018. Her first novel, ‘In Servitude’ won the silver medal for Best European Fiction at the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the USA and was shortlisted for The Selfies awarded at London Book Fair.

A Dutch strategy consultant living in Glasgow and married to a Scotsman, she’s raising their son to be a good man and their daughter to kick ass.

Follow the tour:

No comments:

Post a Comment