The au­thor never makes you weep for that lit­tle girl she says she once was. It all feels so cold

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

a min­is­ter. It started a de­bate about whether the con­fes­sional form had gone too far.

How mild and thought­ful The Kiss seems now. In The In­cest Di­ary, hor­ror is piled on shud­der­ing hor­ror. Anony­mous re­calls how her fa­ther would tie her up, shut her in the wardrobe and use a knife on her. I hated read­ing it. Not be­cause the in­flic­tion of pain is so re­lent­less, al­though it is, but be­cause Anony­mous never makes you weep for that lit­tle girl she says she once was. It all feels so cold, so cal­cu­lated.

If some­one had sat down to write the pub­lish­ing sen­sa­tion of the sum­mer of ‘17, what would their cri­te­ria have been? Well, a) it has to be “real” to sat­isfy the crav­ing for con­fes­sional tales; b) choose the worst taboo of our age — child abuse; c) in­tro­duce just enough “Is it? Or isn’t it” el­e­ments to feed a din­ner party de­bate; d) give it a classy cover so read­ers feel they’re hold­ing some­thing lit­er­ary and el­e­vated; and e) pick a ti­tle that sounds wicked and in­trigu­ing, not har­row­ing and re­pul­sive (The Child Abuse Chron­i­cles, any­one?).

The In­cest Di­ary ticks all those boxes. Anony­mous may well go to the top of the best­seller lists, as she surely in­tended. I do hope not. Some­thing can be true and still not be­liev­able. This is a bad book mas­querad­ing as a good one.

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