Book Review: Carnage: The Story of Us by Lesley Jones
**Contents of this book are pretty graphic and therefore suitable for those age 18+ only**
Carnage:The Story of Us
I first heard about this book through our facebook book club and subsequently discovered it has a bit of a cult following, even having its own support group. This had me intrigued – what was it about this book that justified the need of a support group?
It becomes apparent with the first few chapters that George (Georgia Rae) is a bit of a princess; no one has told her no, ever. Being the youngest of 4 children and the only girl, she’s had everything a little girl could want growing up so when she wanted Sean, she got him. When Sean did something wrong and she didn’t want to hear his name, her family indulged. Instead of coming across as a young woman who knew her own mind, George comes across as a stubborn, petulant child. She doesn’t listen to Sean’s side of things when things go pear shaped and hides for years in her work. Meanwhile, Sean’s band, Carnage, become world famous and while he still loves her, Sean succumbs to the trappings afforded to him as the front man alongside Marley, George’s brother. Drugs, women and more become a way of life. I didn’t know if at this point I was supposed to feel sorry for them but all I could think was they were a pair of kids trying to be grown ups in a world they couldn’t understand. I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities about this couple at all.
The book moves forward 4 years and I had hoped that George would have grown up a bit but it soon becomes apparent that she’s still the same stubborn princess she was at the age of 16. This becomes obvious when she meets the ‘tall dark and handsome’ Cam. Granted, for reasons that are soon revealed, he rejects her after making his play, but her reaction to go out and sleep with anything with a penis over the next 6 months is a bit ridiculous. Eventually they get together and seem to be pretty happy although, he did slap her about a couple of times and this wasn’t addressed by the author once. He may have been a nice guy on the whole but you don’t put your hands on a woman even in frustration. Did the author include this because it was something that would have happened at that point in time? Sorry but I lived the 80’s and I’d have run a mile or at least sicked daddy and his gun on him.
Anyway, at this point I wanted to throw things.
Does this girl live in cloud cuckoo land? She’s got this great guy who worships her, is loaded (despite the slapping), but she throws him away because she’s convinced she’s still in love with a boy she met when she was 11? And don’t get me started on Sean. We are told he wrote to her, phoned her, sent her songs he’d written and had spent 4 years miserable and heart broken and yet, he’s still found time to sleep with plenty of groupies sometimes having three and foursomes with George’s brother Marley. Yes, I felt sorry for him – not. But she literally falls into his arms and within a couple of chapters all is forgiven?
By now I had decided the entire ‘cast’ of this book did not have one redeeming quality amongst them.
Time passes again and ten years down the line our couple are married and on their return from a trip to Australia, Sean is away for work when George goes out on a girls night to a club. And who do you think is the owner? That’s right it’s Cam. After a run in with the girl who was involved in the original split between Sean and George many years before, Cam helps her and her friends to leave the club but not before he gets her alone and we all know what happens to silly girls who’ve had too much to drink in the presence of Mr TDK? They have sex and George feels guilty. Hmm of course she does but only until she’s positive she’s not knocked up. After this, there’s a few bits of drama but you start to believe our young couple might actually get a happy ending but the author decides to stick the knife in and end things with a shocker which I won’t give away.
Apart from my obvious irritation with the behaviour from our young lovers, Lesley has a written a great book set in Essex in a time where sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were a way of life even though I think it’s slightly exaggerated. It’s well written, something that is clear to illicit the reactions from me that it did. Frustration, annoyance and irritation are words I’d used to describe it but also sad, heart breaking and captivavting. I couldn’t put it down which is why, as soon as I’d finished it, I 1-clicked book two because I really needed to know if these characters redeemed themselves!
I would definitely recommend this book but the jury is still out as to why it needs it’s own support group. I’ll give this one 4.5 stars out of 5!