Pure / A Certain Age

Rebbecca Ray

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A coming-of-age novel which provides an account of adolescence and its trials and tribulations, including: parents, first love, first sexual encounters, school and friends. Review

Teenager Rebbecca Ray’s debut novel paints a deeply disturbing portrait of the life of an adolescent girl growing up in small-town England in the dying breaths of the 20th century.

The humiliations of her first day at secondary school soon give way to grudging acceptance as Ray’s unnamed heroine learns how to “fit in”. Letting boys touch her and hanging out with the misfits and trouble-makers makes daily life bearable.

Which is just as well as home life is far from bearable. With a brow-beaten, ineffectual mother, whose own feelings of self-worth have long since been ground to a pulp by a bullying, overbearing husband, it comes as no surprise when their 14-year-old daughter starts dating a man old enough to be her father. Sex, drugs, paedophilia and masochism are all shrugged off by our 14-year-old leading lady whose feelings of self-loathing grow deeper, page by gripping page, until they reach a disturbing, inevitable conclusion.

Written in the first person, Ray’s narrative is stark and shocking. She describes a life, a family, a society too darkly accurate to be pure fiction. As a novelist, Rebbecca Ray has found a suitable channel for her emotions. Today’s teenagers, meanwhile, need help.

Pure / A Certain Age

Reader Comments

Christina writes:

I read a book called Pure by Rebbecca Ray, it’s fiction and 404 pages. It deals with a girl that ends up letting her life out of control without realising it and cutting without knowing that it was wrong.


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