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Strange Sally Diamond

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But this is not that kind of book at all. Nugent engages fiercely with Sally's mental illness. In fact, understanding it, and the trauma it grew out of, is at the centre of this story. I hung up shortly after we had done the goodbye thing that annoys me: 'Goodbye,' 'Bye,' 'Goodbye,' 'See you later,' 'Yes, goodbye,' 'Bye, then.' So tedious. I really enjoyed Sally's perspective, cared for her, wanted to discover her past and found humour in her inner commentary:

Strange Sally Diamond: A BBC Between the Covers Book Club

There’s been lots of hype around this latest book by Liz Nugent. I read her first novel a few years ago and found it sufficiently creepy, so I was happy to give Strange Sally Diamond a try when it was sent my way. A few books into their career I find many thriller writers really hit their stride, so I was excited to see how Nugent had progressed. Like her first book, this latest is an expert depiction of how a twisted mind can influence those around them, the excuses we make for odd behaviour, and how odd, is too odd? It’s a disturbing read as it includes depictions of long-term kidnapping and confinement, but like the success of Emma Donoghue’s Room, this seems to be a topic that sells lots of books. Despite this, however, I actually think Sally is only the second most interesting character in this book. The other is less likable, sometimes intensely unlikable, but far more complex. Nugent has explored two different forms of trauma and abuse here; Sally's was the more straightforward of the two. Thank you for the review. I’ve just started reading and my first impression was that this might be a book my 16 year old would enjoy as a neurodivergent person. Thanks for warning me that it isn’t.That is sad.’ Privately, I thought forty years was plenty of time.” -p.152 of Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent

Strange Sally Diamond — LIZ NUGENT

I wanted to ask her how often they had sex, if she enjoyed it, if she was going to have him cremated, if I was expected to go to the funeral, but I didn’t. Nugent is also careful in humanizing everyone, the good, the bad, and the ones caught in between. It’s not delved into deeply, but we are given windows into explanations of why some people have turned out the way they did – no one is ever blameless, but very few people shoulder all the blame. The only person who is depicted as ignorant and entirely at fault is a racist shopkeeper that’s run out of Sally’s small town. Strangely this woman pops up later in the plot to do some more racist ranting, so her character reminded me more of an internet troll than anything else. Jennifer wrote: "Your review has me excited to read this. I know what you mean with neurodivergence in books. Eleanor Oliphant is one of my all time favorite novels whereas I was so angry with how Mollie is portray..."

This is an odd comment to make about this book, but I was surprised at how funny Sally’s inner thoughts were, and the lightness this brought to a very otherwise dark book. Because she had survived such a traumatic childhood, many parts of her memory and social development were completely lost, so her inner dialogue is completely unguarded, thinking things that would bring other people shame, but she doesn’t experience that emotion. These observations of hers added some much-needed respites from the horror of the plotline. This exchange below is when Sally is told by a relative that her husband of forty years is dying of cancer:

Strange Sally Diamond Emily May (The United Kingdom)’s review of Strange Sally Diamond

She is definitely a bit of an Eleanor Oliphant kind of character. She finds social situations very difficult and doesn't always react emotionally like people think she should, but being inside her head is often entertaining. Neurotypical human socialization through her eyes seems absolutely ludicrous a lot of the time. Elizabeth wrote: "This was a really great review. I read part of it before I read the book and wish I had read the whole review, so I would have read the book more thoughtfully. Spot on." In response to Patricia’s request for recs, I’m part way through the audiobook of 10 steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby (ASD comedian). Recommend if you are looking for an enlightening read about neurodivergent minds mixed w comedy. Note - there are some sensitive topics - she lists potential triggers at the beginning.

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