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 the 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. W
hen V sends Mike an invitation to the wedding, he's convinced the invitation is a calculated move the ongoing, twisted little game they've named Crave. It's now Mike's move.

Our Kind of Cruelty Book Cover

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

Our Kind of Cruelty is divided into three parts.

PART ONE: Mike & V's backstory -- 
Mike's traumatic childhood, how the two meet, the highs and lows of their EIGHT year relationship, the dynamics of the silly games they play, etc. It sets the stage for what's to come and gives the reader a foundation to explain Mike's future actions.

PART TWO: The main event occurs.

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

I'll admit that I had a hard time putting this book down. It definitely deserves a few points for holding my attention, but there were a few things about this book that really bothered me. 

First and foremost, there's Mike. The 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 he's managed to secure a high profile and successful banking job and rakes in million dollar bonuses every year. 

Nice Try Jan Gif

Verity's character is another major problem. If the author's objective was to make her a sympathetic character, she did a piss poor job. The reader isn't given any information about who she is as a person. What is her personality like? What is she thinking? What motivated her? (, you know, send her stalker ex-boyfriend a wedding invitation despite knowing how poorly he'd react? She certainly knew how he would react. They dated for eight years!)

We don't know if V's being genuine or honest. Did she ever really care about Mike at all? And if she never cared, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE POINT OF THIS STORY?

Did V take advantage of Mike's lack of social skills and mold him into a type of man that she could easily manipulate? Is it fair to condemn a man based on his actions if he was motivated by your manipulations? What if his actions were based on a distorted sense of reality that didn't exist? 

I got questions gif

Our Kind of Cruelty depressed me more than it disturbed me, and I would have also preferred a more resolute ending.

I'm sure this will be a popular choice for 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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