I promised this review a few weeks ago, but life got in the way and I’m late. I apologize to author Sloane Kady for my lateness. I made a promise, so here I am. Please visit Ms. Kady’s website here.
It’s actually hard for me to review this novel. The first paragraph grabbed hold of me and I actually got a little scared to read any further.
“I’m the daughter of two defective people. They came off the factory line dented and chipped. If you could pick them up and look underneath them, you’d see that they’re just hollow molds, meant to look like real parents, even sounding like them sometimes, but you know you can’t keep them because those chips left sharp edges that will make you bleed, and they’re not real, anyway. No one wants a cheap knockoff.”
It was too real for me. Too familiar. Too raw. Not from anything that’s happened recently, but with things I’ve put behind me many years ago. I could feel the pain this author poured into this work, because I recognize it. I haven’t read anything else by Kady, nor have I met her personally, but I do interact with her at times on Facebook because many of her posts speak to my soul. Her writing does the same. I’ve grown a great fondness for Ms. Kady.
Sleight is raw and not for the tender-hearted, yet tender-hearted is exactly what Bryce is beneath the tough, cold exterior. She’s full of pain, full of loss, full of confusion and all of it together has her stuck… stuck in the pain of a past she can’t forget, stuck in the confusion of a present she doesn’t know how to handle, and stuck in the fear of not knowing which future to choose. The anger she’s held onto for so long because of the things she once knew, is tossed into chaos as she struggles to re-identify herself as her father struggles to hold onto to his own identity among the identity-stealing grasp of Alzheimer’s.
“The woman looking back at me in my oval bathroom mirror is a stranger to me. I can see in her eyes that she doesn’t know me, either. I watch her, trying to familiarize myself with her shocking appearance. Inside, I’m still casual girl, with my torn skinny jeans and black turtleneck sweater. The woman in the mirror would pass me on the street and at best glare at me from the corner of her eye in contempt of having to share the sidewalk with me.”
When do we form that inner soul? Mine is still a scared little girl acting tough in a violent world. Even now, she is the voice that moves me forward, reminds me of what I’ve already overcome, and compels me forward. It’s paragraphs like this that resonate with me, and why this author has a fan for life.
What I saw in this novel is the beauty and ugliness, but most of all the reality, of love. The chaos of pain. The consequence of pride. The scars of hate, prejudice, and ignorance. Oh, if we could only get out of our own way sometimes.
As an editor, I found the writing fluid, like it was poured directly from the heart. The pacing was consistent, slow in the moments of reflection, and then fast in the heat of emotion. The language was raw and real, which gave an authenticity to the character’s voice.
I don’t recommend this book for those easily offended or those blind in their preconceived boxes. It’s a must-read for those with minds wide open, who’ve experienced some shit in their lives, or those who aren’t afraid to face some raw truth and emotion.
Good job, Ms. Kady. I look forward to reading more of your work.
Till next time,
Georgia Author of the Year Nominee
Editor at North Star Literary Agency