Tabitha Suzama is one of those authors whose work I’ve wanted to read for a long time; especially as she isn’t afraid to tackle meaty and controversial issues in her writing like mental illness. As soon as I heard about Hurt and was offered a review copy from the publisher I knew I had to read it even if it would make me cry, which other reviews seemed to imply. It took me a while to face the book but once I started Hurt I read it one sitting which I always feel tells you a lot about a book.
Hurt is Matheo’s story told in third-person. He has it all; a great girlfriend, friends, tipped for the Olympic diving team and a national diving prodigy but over the space of one weekend everything changes and he can barely even remember why. I personally had my suspicions about a lot of what had happened to Matheo fairly early on and was proved to be correct but there were still twists I didn’t see coming.
Hurt is about exactly that: hurting. While I found the first few chapters difficult to get into as we flash back to Matheo before that weekend, particularly as they were so detailed and descriptive, I did appreciate the contrast of then and now in the book and think it worked. For me, the third person narration took a while to get into as it felt a little on the surface at first, however as we started to find out more about what had happened and passed the point the novel begins in, of Matheo waking up in a trashed room, and see Matheo’s live after whatever has happened this was not a problem.
Matheo’s characterisation was well done and his pain and confusion is powerfully told and almost palpable to the reader. I couldn’t put Hurt down as I needed to finish and know he was going to be okay. The strain on his relationship with Lola and friends as well coming to terms with his own identity and future after realising the truth was overall well done.
Suzama takes a difficult, controversial topic and tells a disturbingly realistic tale of hurting and loss that stays with you beyond the page. There aren’t any easy solutions or magic fixes in this book, it is very true to life I expect, and that it is what makes it stand out for me.
I received a free review copy from the publishers for my honest review. As always, the tone and content of my review is not affected by the means in which I received the book. I also have a Top Ten list of Tabitha Suzama’s all time books here.
****** Potential Spoiler Warning Below: *******
I don’t want to ‘spoil’ the twists, as it were, however feel I should warn that it deals with content and abusive situations that some readers may find upsetting or triggering.