Read 30th March 2012
My rating 4 / 5
99 Reasons Why has had a fair bit of publicity, namely because of the ‘choose your own ending’ option that the book employs.
The book itself is good, although it’s quite a depressing story in some respects, as it follows Kate, who lives on a council estate and spends her days watching the comings and goings of the Kevin Keegan Day Nursery.
The story is written from the point of view of Kate, and is written in her dialect. This should be irritating but it isn’t, which is only testament to Smailes’ story telling skills. You do feel quite sorry for Kate who seems trapped in the sort of sink estate most people would be fearful to step into, and her family life is chaotic and at times, nasty and uncaring.
The big ‘novelty’ with this book is the option to choose your own ending. There are nine endings on the kindle version and a further two which I understand are on Smailes’ website. The ending I chose first was nice, and left enough open for me, as the reader, to interpret what happened next for Kate. I’ve only read one other ending so far (the one on Smailes’ website here).
The book is quirky and dark and so I think the different endings thing probably works. I’ve only read one other of Smailes’ books before (Like Bees to Honey) but she isn’t an author who is bound by convention. Her writing style is quirky and unusual and so to have a book with eleven different ending probably works for this author.
I wasn’t so sure, personally. I felt it interrupted the flow of the book for me, and whilst I’m sure there’s probably some significance to choosing a number and a colour, I’m not sure what that was. That said, I did read this book all in one sitting so Smailes clearly has done something right! She’s certainly an author to keep an eye on.
Well worth a look, and at the time of writing, 99 Reasons Why is a bargain at 99p.