Pica by Jeff Gardiner

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(The lovely team at Accent Press were nice enough to send this to me to review. My opinions have not been affected as a result.)

This book on the face of it sounds a bit weird. It sounded to me a bit like a book which would only appeal to a niche. Pica is something that brings up some pretty weird Google search results too, being the name of a condition where someone is compelled to eat things that aren’t nutritious, like paper or clay. So why is the book called Pica? It’s a long story.

Luke’s a teenager who much prefers the inside life. Games consoles and the internet are his thing, the outside world and nature less so. A new family has just moved in next door, and their son Guy has just started at Luke’s school. He’s a bit of a weirdo though, and it’s basically social suicide for Luke to go anywhere near him. But there’s more to Guy than meets the eye, and as Luke will find out, there’s certainly more to the world than video games.

This book was, in all fairness, a bit weird to read. It places it’s origins in ancient historical stories and tales of humans living with animals and knowing their place in the world, and it felt a bit like a book that was trying to send a message beyond that of the obvious, i.e that humans should learn their place in the world alongside animals, and not as a superior being. It carried a message in a way we can understand, and a way that people can relate to, which I was happy about.

Some of the themes the book carried confused me, and the plot did seem in places a bit confused. For example, we know that the common theme in this book is about getting humanity aligned with nature. But in places it’s all about sex and sexuality. I’m in support of confronting issues in fiction, however I couldn’t help but feel a bit confused by how it was done.

The book’s written in a really interesting way that’s not really what you expect. It’s hard to describe, and it’s proving hard for me to try and fit this book in a box.

It’s one of those ‘one of a kind, never read that before’ books, where there’s honestly been very little written like it in the past. It’s a really good book and I definitely recommend it, with bits that make you audibly gasp in places, so prepare for the occasional shock, but I definitely think it’s a great read and whilst confusing, will change your perceptions of the world and make you think twice about what humanity really is. 

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