Before you start to read this book I must warn that it contains references to drugs, sex and repeated use of a particular swear word that offends most people, especially women. Therefore I would probably not recommend it for a younger audience, or people who are easily offended. I, however, liked it and found that the language used was appropriate for the story and the character who was telling it.
Cause and Effect is a powerful, if not difficult to read novel, which outlines how violence and mental health can go hand in hand. Told from an autobiographical view Cause and Effect is about Simon, a young man who has been picked on for most of his life and he is often beaten up for being different. He works with people who are not nice, the girl he is infatuated with despises him, his father is disappointed he is not more ‘manly’ and then to top it all off his Parents kick him out of home. Simon is wandering around and is confronted yet again by an aggressor, intent on stealing his money and injuring him. However with nothing left to lose, Simon fights back.
Carr employs a very different style of writing. To start with I thought I was reading the authors notes on how he had developed the novel. It wasn’t until I was already 12 pages in, that I realised that this was not the case. While I found that the chapters were not well defined and some things are a bit drawn out, for example where the narrator spends five pages describing his new love interest and still doesn’t actually divulge her name (if you continue reading, you will later find out why), the story remains solid and has an approach which actually reflects well on the narrators mental state. However he also admits his faults in writing: “Of course normally at this point in a book I would now be thinking: that this is about the time I should stop reading this trash and find myself something else, a bit more rewarding and a lot less slushy to lose myself in instead of this load of romantic drivel. But I believe the discovery of her true identity and the effect she has had upon my life is worth the read.” (Excerpt From: Carr, Clive. “Cause and Effect.” iBooks).
Carr employs lots of 1980s slang with mostly good effect. There’s just one thing: Could someone explain to me what he means by “took in a ‘Chinese’ on the way home”? Maybe this is an old term that a Gen X’r such as myself is unlikely to know? Or maybe it’s a term specific to the British, but it did cause me to spend quite some time googling, unsuccessfully, for the answer. I vaguely got the impression that maybe he is talking about a prostitute, but I couldn’t quite be sure.
If you are expecting an easy read that you can sit down and read in a day Cause and Effect is not for you. It is definitely more of a thought provoking book, but if you can handle profanity and a bit of violence, it is still a good read.
Click here to see the book