✓ The Wrong Hand æ Download by ✓ Jane Jago This was a book I wanted to read some time ago.
I hadn t read any reviews until I finished reading this.
I can t bring myself to give it than 3 due to the fact it s too close to a real event that happened in the UK, although the area is changed to Australia.
It s an horrendous story, but then, so was the real life event.
Great writing but released in bad taste.
Not an easy book to read given the upsetting subject matter and the close comparison to the 1993 child murder in the UK by two 10 year old boys This book dealt with the aftermath of a horrific and unimaginable heinous crime against a 3 year old boy, the knock on effect on the victims family and the 2 young boys convicted of his killing and follows their lives over a 15 20 year period Sad, thought provoking and very uncomfortable because it shows a very real and frightening reality of children born into a life of evil.
Despite being set in Australia, this novel could almost be factual, so heavily does it rely on a real life case It begins in 1993 with the body of a young boy being found Benjamin Allen is the son of Mathew and Rachel Allen and, after the murder of their son by two children Danny Simpson and Graham Harris the couple break apart This book is really about the aftermath of such a tragic event and also there is a lot of theorising about why two school children turned to murder.
Rachel remarries and attempts to begin a new life, but is filled with blame, guilt and despair, while Mathew spends his time seeking revenge We also see events from the point of view of Danny Simpson and Graham Harris how they met, what they became and how they fare after reaching adulthood Another character who worked very well was that of retired, terminally ill, Detective Inspector Phillip Kendall, who is unable to let go of the case There is no denying the impact of such a crime not only for those who were personally involved, but also for those who have to live with the aftermath including Rachel s two sons from her second marriage and those who meet the killers, living under new identities, as adults Still, although I found this an empathic and well written novel, it just was too close to real events to make for really comfortable reading I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
I honestly don t know how i m going to review this book properly I m so emotionally conflicted, in a good way I got emotional when i finished reading and realised that it s based on a real case that happened in 1993 I searched the case up online and was horrified with the details of the murder But it made me appreciate the book a lot , because i realised that reading about crime cases will be quite one sided biased most of the time The Wrong Hand explores the perspective of all sides of the same story, and tries to portray the consequences of it from everyone who was involved I m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars.
This is a very serious book It s also quite dark, with the story centering around the murder of a 3 year old boy committed by a pair of 11 year olds It was incredulous to read about children committing such a horrible crime It made me question so many things about morality and responsibility Like for example, to what extent is a parent responsible for their child The reason why i felt emotionally conflicted was because of all the different POVs being explored in the story We get to see the past and present perspective from the two boys, their parents, the parents of the victims, and some other people who were involved as well It was difficult to completely hate the boys for what they did, because of their regret and fears and their sentence They both had to be given new identities after spending 7 years in juvenile detention, and had to live careful lives and had to constantly move around over the years.
It was most emotional to read from the perspective of the victim s mother how it had effected her and her husband How she would always partly blame herself for diverting her attention from her only son for just a few moments, and how that had changed everything The perspective from the victim s father was just as sad I also really appreciated reading the perspective of the two boys mothers Being a psychology student, I ve learnt a bit about whether behaviour in this case, violence is in one s nature or whether the environment had played a bigger role How much should a parent be blamed for the way they had raised their child For the things they had exposed them to For their negligence, for not being supportive when their child needed them to be I did think that some parts of the book had been unnecessary and had made the story a little bit draggy, but other than that i quite enjoyed the honest writing It did get confusing at times about who s POV it was and which timeframe the chapter was in, so it took a bit of effort to keep up I don t think the book is very appropriate for younger readers mostly because of the profanities and some obscene parts Also, trigger warning for those uncomfortable reading about suicide.
All in all, i m glad i read this book I received a copy to be reviewed and can honestly say that it is quite eye opening If you want to know about the real case it s based on, you can search Murder of James Bulger I think reading the book helps see things from a wider perspective.
This book was difficulty to get into I just couldn t get into the story that kept flashing from past to present Overall the story was quite good told how everyone suffers from a horrendous crime not just the accused and victims but whole families included I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review I give this book 4 stars Danny Simpson and Graham Harris were just children seven years ago when they committed a crime so heinous that left three families devastated Boys who have turned into monsters.
They are now men and ready to be released back into society with new identities but they won t be able to escape who they are or what they did.
This really felt to me as if the author has based this on the horrific true event that happened in Liverpool over twenty years ago and this is why I could only give this book 3.
I would like to thank Net Galley, Penguin UK and the author Jane Jago for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
In summary, the story is about Danny Simpson and Graham Harris who abducted 3 year old Benjamin and murdered him We meet them at various stages in their lives, but mainly the novel looks at what happens following their release 7 years after they committed such a horrendous crime, and their subsequent adult years as they attempt to move on with ordinary lives It also follows the lives of Rachel and Matthew Allen, Benjamin s devastated and broken parents.
The novel took me a while to get into as I felt like I d missed a few chapters somewhere Jago assumes we re already aware of the premise and therefore begins by starting in the middle with Danny being prepared for his release back into society at the end of his prison sentence At this point we re a little unsure who we are reading about, what exactly has happened and how the various characters are connected We learn that Danny was given a cover story in order to survive life in prison and now he is being given a cover story to survive life on the outside He s not a pleasant character, there is no sympathy generated despite the revelation that Dan is as terrified of living as he is of dying and the terrifying threat of being found out all over again is having a detrimental affect on his emotional and metal stability, his ability to actually forgive himself, pick up a normal life or ever recover from the shock of what he actually did I think this is deliberate in order to create some distance between us either to make it clear that our relationship with this character is going to be conflicted or to protect us a little from becoming too upset by the details and reality of the crime Perhaps in a way, it might help us to read about Danny as we are kept a little removed.
There are several characters to meet very early on, each with a different chapter and a different involvement with Benjamin There are narratives from Rachel, Matthew, Danny and Liam aka Graham The novel plays around with the chronologically as we follow the different threads sometimes back to before the crime, sometimes just after, after the boys release and then also bringing us up to date with the boys now as young men This encourages pace and a complex exploration of the topic It gives Jago a chance to create a range of characters and write about a range of interesting positions and relationships It gives her a chance to explore different reactions to crime, grief, death, violence and rehabilitation It did mean it took a while to get into and a moment or two to acknowledge where in the chronological order of things that particular chapter fell and which character we were reading about, but as the book continues I think it makes it tense and interesting It prevents it from becoming trite or cliched and means it retains elements of a psychological drama.
Rachel s sections are quite harrowing Her mental anguish and the lasting impact of losing a son are obviously crippling She has two children one of which was born under the shadow of the event and subsequently is serious, reserved and wary of life Rachel drives her 13 and 9 year old to school and back everyday They are always in her sight They have never been on a sleepover, her all consuming anxiety ruled their lives She is terrified that any happiness will lead to complacency I absolutely relate to and completely understand this behaviour following her devastating loss but I did find her passages quite heavy going and oppressive.
Matthew s grief is equally all consuming he has just put all his energy into tracking down the two culprits knowing that they are now released and living somewhere in the UK The language used to describe his plight is very powerful despair, drowning, bewilderment, blackness, unreachable grief It was really insightful to read about how people turn away no platitude forthcoming their response very different to when other parents are trying to cope with death and loss Benjamin s death represents every parent s worst nightmare and therefore Rachel and Matthew are almost isolated in their grief The writing is taut but emotional and intense.
Liam s character is not black and white Unlike Danny, he seems redeeming and is now in a seemingly healthy relationship However, the news that his girlfriend is pregnant provokes extreme reactions from him He is immediately thrown into huge distress should he confess the truth of his past to Catherine How can he ever possibly consider being a father What sort of child would he produce What sort of father would he be He doesn t want a child, but could this be the only way he can learn to forgive himself and move forward change the course of his future Fascinating questions and emotions for Liam to muddle through which are sure to provoke a heated discussion from any reader.
The revelation of the back stories of Graham Liam and Danny is good Reading about their police interviews straight after their arrest includes little details like the detective bringing in boxed juices and having to explain what is unique about a fingerprint It jars with the reader, reminding them that these boys were merely children themselves are they knowingly capable of such cruelty How instinctive or primeval is the reaction or impulse to commit violence or suppress extreme curiosity How and when do we develop a conscience and how exactly is this taught or learned What impact does our upbringing, parental influence, environment and genetics have on our social conditioning Reiser, the journalist writing about the case, asks all these questions It cleverly gives Jago a platform from which to include a academic voice and angle on this controversial topic.
I liked the jigsaw like puzzle of the chronology and interwoven narratives I think it was really clever to finish with Rachel s version of the actual day Benjamin went missing It is simple so normal, so usual, so everyday So blameless and so completely in no way incriminating or as a result of anything she did or didn t do Far too chilling for any parent to read.
It is a haunting novel It is one of extreme emotions from the overwhelming grief of Rachel and Matthew, the psychopathic behaviour of the young boys, to the horror of adult Danny, to the contentious position of Liam as he considers fatherhood It is a novel about how far ripples from a mistake spread, how deep they can go and for how long they can continue to upset the water.
It is hard not to read this novel without remembering other cases in the news that are similar, particularly that from 1993 and perhaps this affects the way we respond to certain characters Jago has tried to create characters that challenge this judgement and considers the complexities of people s personalities and behaviours I m not sure it is a novel to enjoy but I was captivated and it did keep me turning the page It is a book I would want to discuss in detail with other readers and would be really interested to see how other people found it.
My thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in return for a fair review.
I have to admit to struggling with this book but I m not sure whether my own feelings about the subject matter tainted what I was reading This is such a difficult and horrific fictional account of the murder of a 3 year old boy by two 11 year old boys but, despite it being set in Australia, it still followed far too close to a real life UK crime that it made me feel particularly squeamish and uncomfortable Normally I do like this type of storyline, a particularly good example is The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood which I loved but I just didn t get that feeling here.
This is the story of Danny and Graham who committed an awful crime at the age of 11 As the crime has had far reaching consequences it also follows Rachel who s son was murdered and how she is dealing with her emotions as a mother to her other children Benjamin s dad just wants to find the boys now that they have been released from prison and it is an all consuming passion to work out where they are now and what they look like We see the affects on the boys families as well How do you cope as a parent if your child has murdered another Do you have to take some of that blame on your own shoulders We are back in my favourite territory here of nurture vs nature and how 2 individuals can spark off something in the other that is dormant, waiting for that other person, that reflection in the mirror to complete a match made in hell.
Jane Jago is a fantastic writer who can spark an emotional response in her readers and I would love to read of her work This one just bothered me a little bit purely because of that connection, it made me feel uncomfortable as it was just a little bit too close to home for my liking.
I received a copy of this book via netgalley in return for an unbiased review.
We All Make Mistakes Moments That Change Us And The Path We Are On Irrevocably For Rachel Allen It Was The Moment That She Let Her Son S Hand Slip From Hers For Danny Simpson And Graham Harris It Was The Moment One Of Them Took It Seven Years Ago Danny And Graham Were Just Children Themselves, Angry, Marginalized And Unguided That Was, Until They Committed A Crime So Heinous That Three Families Were Left Devastated They Were No Longer Just Boys They Were Monsters Released From Juvenile Detention, It Is Time For The Boys, Now Men, To Start Again New Names, New People But They Can Never Escape Who They Are Or What They Did And Their Own Families, Now Notorious The Allens, Destroyed With Grief And The Country At Large Have Never Been Able To Forget They Will Always Be Running They Will Always Be Hiding But Are Some Mistakes Too Large, The Ripples To Far Reaching, To Outrun Forever This was a disturbing kind of book Based on 2 children Yes, children who together, murdered a 2 year old boy Now many years later and out of prison with new identities, the two now men have lives of their own There isn t much of a plot here and a lot of the book was based on a lot of going back in time which was helpful in determining what made the children do what they did Regardless, I found this all disturbing One scene in particular involving a newborn kitten I was just disgusted An unsettling read.