Many thanks to the Red Dog team for the blog tour invite and ARC – I am delighted to be sharing my review of ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ by Heleen Kist.
THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN INNOCENCE AND GUILT. AN EVEN FINER LINE BETWEEN JUSTICE AND REVENGE.
Data scientist Laura prefers the company of her books to the real world – let alone that cesspit online. But when her best friend Emily becomes the victim of horrific cyberbullying, she makes it her all-engulfing mission to track down the worst culprits.
Petite corporate financier Suki is about to outshine the stupid boys at her firm: she’s leading the acquisition of Edinburgh’s most exciting start-up. If only she could get its brilliant, but distracted, co-founder Laura to engage.
Event planner Claire is left to salvage the start-up’s annual conference after her colleague Emily fails to return to work. She’s determined to get a promotion out of it, but her boss isn’t playing ball.
As the women’s paths intertwine, the insidious discrimination they each face comes to light. Emboldened by Emily’s tragic experience, they join forces to plot the downfall of all those who’ve wronged them.
But with emotions running high, will the punishments fit the crimes?
What does TWG think?
This is going to be a tough book to review as, just like many others I’m sure, I have been on the receiving end of work place harassment, rape and sexual abuse. Again, like many, I have also been in the position where those situations have been glossed over to save ‘face’. With that in mind, ‘Stay Mad, Sweetheart’ was a very raw book to digest but, it also happens to be one of the most topical books I have read. I do mean that as a compliment, although I’m sure you will agree with me when I say that it shouldn’t be topical because it shouldn’t even happen. Right?
Heleen Kist puts the subjects of the ‘me too’ movement, gender equality, and harassment under the spotlight and makes them sweat. Not only that, she hones in on the repercussions of said events, and the emotional harm it has on its ‘victims’. Whilst its evidently clear that ‘Stay Mad’ Sweetheart’ isnt a light hearted, easy to read novel, its extremely important to remember that this little novel is doing a vital job by highlighting various different real life, and relatable issues.
I did find the whole ‘revenge’ element of the book a little immature and I felt that it lowered the poignancy of the task in hand, ever so slightly. I could appreciate the reasons behind said revenge, but seeing as it was in the middle of a very powerful written novel, I couldnt help but liken it to Catwoman and Wonder Woman.
Heleen Kist is very talented, and the way in which she has written a piece of writing that will make people talk, astounded me and, as daft as this sounds, I did end up finishing the novel with a newfound respect for the author.
I am so pleased to see books like this being written (and published), however most importantly, I’m extremely happy that the author never once doubted her characters in need and kept reminding her readers to believe, believe, believe.