|Good covers don't mean good books|
Elvira Carr is twenty-seven and neuro-atypical. Her father – who she suspects was in the secret service – has passed away and, after several Unfortunate Incidents growing up, she now spends most of her time at home with her overbearing mother. But when her mother has a stroke and is taken into care, Elvira is suddenly forced to look after herself or risk ending up in Sheltered Accommodation. Armed with her Seven Rules, which she puts together after online research, Elvira hopes to learn how to navigate a world that’s full of people she doesn’t understand. Not even the Seven Rules can help her, however, when she discovers that everything she thought she knew about her father was a lie, and is faced with solving a mystery she didn’t even know existed . .
All the other reviewers on Goodreads are glowing about this book, being feel good and inspiration bullshit. I have yet to come across another own voices review, so here's mine: I'm autistic (Aspergers side) and therefore this book is not meant for me. It very reminiscent of the "The curious incident in the Nightmare" (I mean to write night-time, I'm keeping that in), a book I despised for its ablelist bullshit. Even if he not autistic, its still horrible book of presenting my disabled peers. I've rated this book super low for two specific things.
Ellie never disclosed to the reader what her diagnosis is. It's refer to only as 'her condition' and that is gutless. If you're going to write a book about Autism, do it. Don't be spineless about it. I am sick of coded Autistic characters without the label. There is not enough representation of Autistic Adults to go without it. The term neurodivergent or neurotypical is hinted with the wrong term of "NeuroNormal". This is the wrong term. Normal is subjective and is not found in science. The correct term is Neurotypical. People on the Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) like correct terms when comes to sciencey things like the brain typically, and the way Ellie is presented I don't buy use the term "NeuroNormal". Normal is a dirty word when it comes to talking about neurodivergent people. Maybe once upon of time, but as of 2016 when this book is based, No one uses this term. Also another thing to know that neurodivergent/neuroatypical is also used to describes people with mental health disorders and other learning disabilities. For example, someone with mild dyslexic would be consider neuroatypical technically. Therefore, not neurotypical. Another random point, my autism makings me disabled, that is not a bad thing, it's just a thing about me.
Another big factor is there is random (trigger WARNING) sexual assault in this book. It happens twice, getting worst. Most women will experience sexual assault in some form in their life, from being slapped on the butt to worst thing possible, so realistic. But you can't bush past sexual assault of women considered mentally disabled. Sexual Assault and manipulation is a bigger problem for people considered disabled because they are vulnerable or seen to be. She doesn't tell anyone. The most that happens is someone guesses.This book is about learning life lessons, but she doesn't learn one from this. One of the next things that happens is she tells a strange man where her house is over the internet. Sorry, spoilers which I don't do in reviews, but I have to address this. I am going to do a video about this is Spoiler discussion about why in extreme detail about how this is done wrong because I can't without spoiling a big chunk of the book. I hate sexual assault being used as life lesson tool. It can be augured that there is victim blaming in this book also. She could have had that lesson another way, it could have stopped at one. She could have told someone. Sometimes books shouldn't be realistic, but the ideal and with the stigma about sexual assault, the representation is extremely important. How it's handled. Silence is might be realistic, but it shouldn't be.
Without the above, this book probably a three star book. But I rated it one stars after the first assault and so far I don't feel like changing that.
Now for my fun, less problematic and more just issues. Ellie reads Mills & Boon as 27 year in 2016, whose mother hates that sort of thing. Mills & Boons are an old lady thing and it is never explained why she would read them as 20 something. Romance books sure, I'm borderline Asexual and read romances. Lots of Aces do. (she repeatedly says she doesn't want a boyfriend). Yeah, ASDA still sell them, but why would she ever pick them up? Like I don't know anyone that reads Mills & Boons religiously in the that age group or even a few above it. I've read them but only cause an elderly neighbour gave me them. 'Chick-Fiction' seems more realistic, they are always on deal.
We going to just pretend that the term Autism is used in this book and talk about that. Ellie comes across as actually being high-functioning (I hate that term too, but there's not a better one to my knowledge) but she has been gaslit her whole life by her mother, whose an old lady at the age of 72 (I did the maths). I don't know how old Frances Maynard is but she comes as across as someone much older than someone in their late 20s, like at least a few decades. The relationship with her parents is interesting and probably best part of this novel.
So Autism, there are two autistic coded characters, our protagonist and someone she meets. There are the same, which equals bad representation. So...like I really can't separate their traits to argue they're not. Maybe this book is a little too much about her 'Condition'.
The writing is well done for a Début. I mean, if I hadn't blacklisted her in my mind, I would probably pick Maynard up again.
Overall, I give this book 1/5 stars for handsy "NeuroNormals". This may be a book about the Neuroatypical, but its not one for them. Therefore, I could never recommend it, but I'm don't absolutely hate it. This book will be compared to the "Curious Incident" and for me that's a real bad thing. That is not the book to based on what a book about Autistic person should be like. This probably does a better job of personifying them than that horrid book. My big tip is if you want to write about Autism, write about Autism, don't just thank the National Autistic Society in your Acknowledgements. Remember Autistic people will be reading and we will be taking notes.
My last few books I've reviewed, I have been tearing them apart for seemly small things, but small things can be important. Maynard also credits a few Maynard by Autistic people, which is weird that she missed a few things normal to Autistic/Aspergers life. Like neither coded characters have sensory issues. I have mild issues compared to others, but there still comes up in my life. It also like she never came across why Autistic people don't like to be touch or that it effects all senses: e.g. sound, light, and I've heard of people having taste issues. I'm going to go over this stuff in the video discussion.
I got this book for review (let no one say I'm biased in my reviews of free books) from Netgalley and it being Published by Mantle on 24 August 2017. Who hopefully, won't blacklist me, as I love most of the books the Publisher there are imprint of.
P.S. Can you tell I've censored the swearing?