Killing Them With Kindness
By Andy Paulcroft
Rated: 4 Stars ****
I am pleased to be on this blog tour for the quirky book with some humour and social themes – Killing Them with Kindness by Andy Paulcroft. We are now half-way through the tour. Today is my turn and I have a review.
Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.
@Andy.Paulcroft (Facebook Page)
Deirdre Cossette is the self-appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.
There are certainly a whole range of personalities in The Avenue for readers to get to know. Each character has lived a life with unexpected stories to tell. I enjoyed this book. It has some pretty good humour within it as well as some twists. This book really engaged me and I loved getting to know all the characters and the carer who would give the residents of The Avenue, what they wanted. It turns out that there is a cost to being that kind as readers will discover as they progress through the story.
This is a pretty emotive story that is also thought-provoking at times and also heart-warming at times too. It’s also certainly quirky, but let’s face it, quirky can be good and in this book, it’s a good path to take these flawed characters down. Just looking at the cover I could tell it was going to be quirky and rather different. It’s certainly that, but whether you’re a quirky person or not, this is worth a read.
There are also serious themes covered within the story, quite topical ones actually – social isolation and loneliness, but are skillfully written with some wit surrounding, what are serious subjects as the wit doesn’t detract from this.
You do need to concentrate a bit on the characters so you remember how people are related, but not with too great a difficulty as the story pulls everyone together and will pull you into their lives. There are also some interesting back-stories periodically, that are written so they are succinct and flow well with the present time.
For something quite original and quirky, give the book a try.
With thanks to Andy and Rachel for inviting me onto the tour and for a print-copy of the book.
This is an unbiased review.