Book review: The First Book of Calamity Leek, Paula Lichtarowicz

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“The First Book of Calamity Leek is a gloriously imagined and wonderfully inventive story about thirteen abducted girls whose whole world is governed by a book of rules, their ‘Aunty’ and the Wall of Safekeeping that keeps everything – including Demonmales – away….It is an extraordinary debut about sisterhood, adolescence and navigating the path of woman hood against the odds.”

Published by Hutchinson, 7 February 2013 – available for pre-order now

RRP £12.99

Reviewer Charlotte, Deeside

The author attributes some of the books origin to her own interest in the power relationships between both men and women and women and women, her relationships as a child and her social interests.

The hero is a young woman on the cusp of adulthood and full of bravado. She is imprisoned by a cult, naive, brainwashed and training for a “War” against “demonmales” which will never come.

This is a complex book of many layers. It is likely to appeal to someone who understands the complexities of family life and competing personalities.

The back of the book states:

Books tell you what to believe.

Books explain the world around you.

What if a book had been written to explain a world constructed for you?

What if that world suddenly fell apart?

Calamity Leek needs a new book, but she’s going to have to write it herself.

For me, this doesn’t especially grab me. When I am choosing a book to read I like to be drawn in by the snippet of information on the back of the book. I was not drawn in by this one and consequently found it quite a hard book to get into. I was not instantly transported into Calamity’s life and not even sure what the book was really about for a good few chapters.

Having said that if you can get into the book and keep up with the fast and sometimes distracting pace you will appreciate the clever writing of the author.


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