May 10, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

OUR KIND OF CRUELTY by Araminta Hall is told from the perspective of an obsessed and delusional stalker named Mike.

Mike thinks he's playing a game of cat and mouse with his ex-girlfriend and love of his life, Verity. In reality, Verity (or V) has moved on with "the most eligible bachelor in London," and is engaged to be married in the coming months. 
When V sends Mike an invitation to the wedding, Mike is convinced the invitation is a calculated move in an ongoing, twisted game they've named Crave. Now, it's Mike's move.

Our Kind of Cruelty Book Cover

I can't delve into plot specifics without spoiling the story, but I'll share what I can.

Our Kind of Cruelty is divided into three parts.

The backstory. The reader learns about Mike's traumatic childhood, how he met V, the highs and lows of their EIGHT year relationship, and the dynamics of the silly games they play. It sets the stage for what's to come and gives the reader a foundation for Mike's later actions.

The main event.

The story comes full circle when the main event is retold from the inside of a courtroom.

I had a hard time putting this book down, so it definitely deserves a few points for holding my attention. However, there were a good number of things I found problematic.  

First, let's talk about Mike. This man has little to no social intelligence and misinterprets the most basic of social cues on a near constant basis. Yet, despite his OBVIOUS social ineptitude, the author would have us believe that Mike rakes in million dollar bonuses every year at his high profile banking job.

Nice Try Jan Gif

V's character is just as incongruent as Mike. If the author's objective was to make Verity a sympathetic character, the author does a poor job. The reader isn't given ANY information about her personality, her thoughts, what motivates her (, you know, send a stalking ex-boyfriend an invitation to her wedding when she should know EXACTLY how he would respond to that? They dated for eight years!)

We don't know if Verity is genuine or honest. Did she ever care about Mike at all? And if she never cared, WHAT EXACTLY WAS THE POINT OF THIS STORY?

Did V take advantage of Mike's lack of social skills and mold him into the type of man she could easily manipulate? Is it fair to condemn a man based on his actions if he was motivated by your manipulative behavior? 

I got questions gif

OUR KIND OF CRUELY is more depressing than it is disturbing, and I would have preferred a more resolute ending. However, I'm sure this will be a popular read among book clubs (as there is much to discuss!) 


*A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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