Cover Image: Bodies

Bodies

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Member Reviews

This was a cracker. I read this in one sitting because how could I not? The writing sucked me in and before I knew it I was sitting in a pub next to this girl and at times the writing was so genuine and so true to life I thought I might have been reading something that had once happened to me.

Set against a back drop of religious and generational trauma this story starts off as one thing and quickly spirals into something else, I was genuinely intoxicated with the writing. I’m not Irish, I’m Scottish, the similarities are glaring and for a Buckfast reference, Christine I give you 100 points. It’s not often you come across a book that feels you’ve walked through the streets and pubs and clubs of, but this was definitely made me feel like I’d lived there.

I have to recommend this for all those girls out there who love a weird girl book but also, for any girl who’s ever been used by a man, hurt by a man or generally ever just been in a room filled with men. You’ll get it.

This book was definitely written for all the girls who have been gas-lit, cheated on, hurt and used. It feels like vindication wrapped up in someone else’s madness but healing in a way that only an anti-hero could serve.

Christine is now an instabuy author for me and Christine, if you see this - thank you for giving this to us, all of us who needed this.

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A sly, intriguing read that - as others have noted - is benefitted by going in with as little foreknowledge as possible. Cleverly written and constructed. Recommend.

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I’ve read my fair share of ‘I support women’s rights and wrongs’ literature and this takes the cake without a doubt.

Going to keep this review as vague as possible because I truly believe that the less you know going in, the better. I went in relatively blind - the synopsis doesn’t really give much of the plot away, but I’m so glad I did. Genuinely one of the most hypnotic books I’ve ever read; I knew from the first few pages that it was going to consume me rather than the reverse - suffocating and claustrophobic and wholly immersive. There are some very heavy triggers, so please be gentle with yourself if you do pick it up, but the PROSE!!! So entirely captivating that I couldn’t look away despite the darkness; I love a good stream-of-consciousness that also feels like a wine-fuelled dusk-’til-dawn conversation with a friend.

Charlotte was a masterfully crafted character; traversing between past and present through her lens, the reader is taken on a visceral journey exploring the accumulation of trauma in various forms - some unfortunately common for women especially, others more a rarity - and how it affects a person’s development and relationships. A multitude of heavy themes and experiences broached; control, coercion and humiliation to name a few, but they were handled in an understated and nuanced way, leading to a perfect conclusion.

The men… my goodness, the men. The less I say, the better; I’m sure a lot of people will get war flashbacks to varying degrees with them (was Kyle for me), and Charlotte’s reclamation of her sexuality and autonomy, by any means necessary, was a breath of fresh air.

My only qualm is that I would’ve LOVED to see more at the end but that’s just me being greedy, I do think that concluding where it did was an iconic power play.

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Such an amazing book!!! I keep on telling people to read it and can't wait for it's release in July. Brutal, funny, horrible, relatable and thought provoking. Like talking with your best friend after too many drinks (in the best way)! And my! What a revelation they have for you!!

Can't wait to see what Christine Anne Foley writes next!

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I fully recommend going in blind to this. The blurb is left vague for good reason. As the story unfolds, I started to realise what was happening.

I found this book to be a relatable, dark and devastating read. It casts a light on dating as a girl on the cusp of womanhood and the issues that brings. Rape culture, body autonomy, misogyny, gas lighting and cheating to name a few. I think many of us will have had similar dating experiences which is what makes this book so relatable
I would, however recommend looking up content warnings.

Charlotte is our protagonist. She's a complex and vulnerable character who has experienced trauma in her childhood. She is sometimes unlikeable and even though I disagreed with some of her actions, I still found myself rooting for her.

This is a relatively short book and very well written. Theres no speech marks but that didn't bother me. I inhaled it though I'm honestly not sure if I loved it or hated it but it certainly packed a punch and I'm finding myself still thinking about it.

A thought provoking book that I think will have opinions divided! I really look forward to what this author does next.

Huge thanks to @netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review.

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Bodies is Foley’s debut novel and is due for publication in July this year. Here’s my advice: pre-order a copy immediately because it’s sure to fly off the shelves.

Charlotte, our protagonist, tells her story through a stream-of-consciousness style that weaves back and forth in a rather fragmented way, which works exceptionally well in building an unflinchingly gripping and thought-provoking read.

Charlotte focuses on the relationships she has had with men - and what toxic lot they were. However, we get glimpses of her childhood and a traumatic event that changed her life forever, significantly impacting her psychological well-being. Flawed Charlotte may be, but she demonstrates incredible insight and perception.

Essentially, the book is a hate letter to a particular type of man, driven by Charlotte’s rage and grief. It also addresses broader societal issues around bodily autonomy, promiscuity, and rape culture.

Unfortunately, the situations Charlotte faces will be uncomfortably familiar to many women, but they must be talked about. I’ll undoubtedly be thinking on her story for a long while to come.

Bodies is a darkly raw yet astute and highly compelling read that’ll keep you hooked from beginning to end, and at around 200 pages, it’ll be one you’ll want to devour in one sitting.

My one tiny criticism is that the story ended a little abruptly; I’d have liked a slightly longer read with more delving into the plot twist, about which I’ll say no more! 4.5⭐️

Thank you to John Murray Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy. As always, this is an honest review.

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If you enjoy dark and chaotic storylines and characters, I would recommend reading Bodies. I went into this read not completely expecting the themes to be quite so dark. That said the themes of relationships, sexual and drug experimentation, and misogyny are gripping and thought-provoking. I did find the timeline and character jumping combined with the lack of speech marks a little too much at times. At times it felt like the protagonist was writing in a stream of consciousness. But overall a beautifully written and important read. 3.5 stars.

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This poignant novel offers a vivid depiction of Ireland's cultural landscape, tracing the journey of a teenage girl transitioning into womanhood amidst the chaos of her surroundings. Delving into themes of sexuality, relationships, and drug experimentation, the narrative exposes the harsh realities of how women are often mistreated within the backdrop of Ireland's prevalent drug and "lad" culture.

The author skillfully captures the protagonist's inner turmoil through a stream of consciousness narrative style, immersing readers in her tumultuous thoughts and emotions. While this approach effectively enhances the authenticity of the story, it occasionally contributes to a sense of chaos that may challenge readers to keep pace.

One of the novel's strengths lies in its unflinching exploration of the stigma and shame surrounding female promiscuity and sexual agency. Through the protagonist's experiences, the narrative sheds light on the societal pressures and double standards faced by women in navigating their own desires.

Despite its dark and triggering nature, the novel's conclusion is both poignant and expected, offering a fitting resolution to the protagonist's journey. However, the inclusion of an epilogue leaves room for interpretation, prompting readers to ponder its significance and whether it adds depth to the narrative or detracts from its impact.

Overall, this raw and compelling portrayal of Irish culture offers a thought-provoking commentary on the challenges faced by young women in a society grappling with issues of identity, sexuality, and societal expectations.

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3.5 ✨

This book was absolute chaos, I thought the messaging of the book itself and the writing style was so so clever and engaging but equally it almost veered on the side of a bit too chaotic for me.

I absolutely love problematic toxic characters but I think at times in this one it almost jumped around so much it impacted my connection with the characters/story. I did like the way it was written like a stream of consciousness, I think it gave us a really unique understanding of Charlotte.

Overall I’d say this book is for sure compelling, it’s very dark and chaotic but in a way that has you completely gripped, I think personally I’d have liked a longer book- I think it would have given more time to really delve deeper and slow down the chaos but then I’m also a long book lover so that’s hardly surprising. I’m really intrigued to see what the author does next as her intelligence is clear

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Thanks to the publisher and author for the ARC provided via NetGalley; this is my unbiased review.

Bodies by Christine Anne Foley
John Murray Press, 4th July 2024
⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:
Johnny was my first. I was seventeen, and I was only brave enough to talk to him after I'd had three vodkas. He was only brave enough to kiss me when no-one else was around.

Dave was different. We didn't go out or see friends. We were each other's world. Dave was all I needed. We were toxic before it became fashionable.

Kyle was my best friend. And that was the problem. Or at least that's what he said was the problem. Because friends can hook up, but they can't date.

Adam was meant to be some harmless fun. I met him in a hotel and he was wearing an Adidas tracksuit. Casual but cute. He was anything but harmless.

And then I met You.
And things went from bad to worse.

Review:
The vague description of this debut, combined with the eye-catching cover, intrigued me enough to request an ARC. Written in a first person, monologue style, it's the story of Charlotte, a teacher from Dublin, who is reflecting on her early teen years, sexual awakening, and treatment by men.

There's an awful lot of jumping around between different relationships and timeframes, and none of the dialogue is in speech marks, so these combine to make it quite a confusing read overall.

But, if you manage to get to the end without working out the twist, this would make it quite satisfying. I can imagine a TV series of this book working rather well, and it being a popular read upon its summer release.

#Bodies #ChristineAnneFoley #JohnMurrayPress #BookReview

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A very real and raw portrayal of irelands culture growing up as a teenage girl into a young woman. Exploring her sexuality, the relationships she had, experimenting with drugs.

It shows how horrible women are treated by men in this culture of drugs and drink and “lad” culture here in Ireland.

It also explores the stigma and shame around promiscuity and having sex for women.

I really enjoyed the stream of consciousness style of writing, I feel it really added to the story being told.

It’s very dark and very triggering but so real and accurate unfortunately. The ending also shocked me!

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An interesting book. Told in a series of flashback from the point of view of Charlotte, we see her at points growing up with Saoirse, the older sister she obviously adores, but also her first encounters with men (or teenagers in the case of brothers Johnny and Lar), and then a series of often unpleasant encounters with men as Charlotte grows up and leaves home.

Many of Charlotte’s encounters are clearly self-destructive – there is a lot of misogyny and sexism at play here, but Charlotte also seems to seek out men who will either treat her badly, or treat the other women in their lives badly as well as Charlotte.
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It’s difficult to say more without giving away plot details – having started this knowing there was a ‘twist’ I’d guessed what that twist was going to be.

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Love this love this love this! From the blurb I knew I was going to enjoy this but it exceed my expectations. A sad girl novel for all too enjoy.

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Thank you to Netgalley and John Murray Press for allowing me to read this ARC.

Bodies by Christine Anne Foley narrates some of Charlotte's romantic and sexual experiences throughout her adult life. That's all I can say for now! You'll have to read it to find out the rest...

I read this in about two hours. Truly devoured it. Such an incredibly raw and thrilling piece of literature, which I have no doubt will be one of the next biggest books on chaotic booktok.

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Trigger warning : suicide

Just unrelentingly dark. Not insightful or illuminating or constructive in its telling. Grim.

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"𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒎𝒚 𝒐𝒘𝒏, 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒎𝒚 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚, 𝒎𝒚 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚 𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖."

This was one of the most unhinged, wild and powerful debuts I've read and I inhaled every bit of it— I'm not surprised it's been considered the 'it girl book of the year'.

Within the first few pages I was completely hooked on the writing style in this; it read like poetry to me from beginning to end which ultimately made it a fast paced and addictive story. With it being in first person the whole way through, it constantly felt like we were Charlotte herself going through every happy, sad and tragic event along the way which to me added another clever layer that would have been missing had it been written in any other way. The flashbacks and time jumps took a bit of getting used to at the start but it didn't take long before I was deeply immersed into Charlotte's life.

I didn't fully know what to expect going into this and after finishing it, I'm glad of the fact. Bodies is a dark and shocking story, full of raw, uncomfortable and very real moments surrounding Charlotte's relationships with different men over the course of her teenage and adult life. I still can't figure out how to feel about her but I did find Charlotte intriguing and rightly or wrongly, I sort of understood her by the end. I won't say much else about the plot because I think it's the type of book that is best to go into blind so you can get the full effect. I can say I particularly enjoyed the last few chapters, even after needing to just stare at the wall after finishing the book wondering wtf I'd just read!

Overall, this will definitely stick with me for a while and I think a lot of women will (sadly) be able to relate to certain things in this book. I also had strong Boy Parts by Eliza Clark vibes by the end so if you're a fan of that I'd highly recommend Bodies.

Thank you Netgalley & John Murrays for the digital ARC!

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I cannot think of a better-named book. BODIES will have you looking at your own a bit differently, that's for sure.

Told in a series of vignettes from Charlotte Murphy's past, readers discover the spectrum of boys, men and walking red flags that she's interacted with over the course of her life. Some of it happy, some it of sad, but all of it compelling. At first I was just reassured to find a story about someone with a messier love life then mine and then, as I kept reading, I was reassured to see how much worse it could be.

Filled with 00s reflections on shame, loss and party culture, BODIES is a quick read that I'm very glad I've read.

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'Bodies' was an astute observation on the trajectory from girlhood to womanhood. Suicide, abuse, toxic patterns, and relationship issues circumnavigate this novel through episodic glimpses into each man the main character became entangled with. I very much enjoyed the non-chronological timeline as this helped break up any stagnation. I resonated with the vulnerability and rawness of this book; the author thanking the men who helped shape this novel was a great ending to a powerful debut novel. I loved that female friendships and bonds were just as significant as the romantic relationships.

My only criticism of this novel is that the ending felt rushed. Personally, I think a few extra pages would make my review 5 stars instead.

Overall, this novel is an achievement, and I would recommend it to not just body horror/psychological readers, but anyone interested in social relationships.

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This was one of my most anticipated books for the year. So I knew I was going to love it. And it did not disappoint. It actually went above and beyond expectations. Truly a brilliant read.

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Wow. What a vulnerable, raw and powerful read. Please make sure you check the trigger warnings for this book 💌

Foley’s incredible writing takes us through the journey of life from childhood to adulthood. The protagonist explores her experiences with love, friendships, family, relationships, toxicity and suicide. “Bodies” represents the emotional and physical change of the anatomy by focussing on themes like sex/pregnancy, drugs/alcohol, body image, forms of abuse and death.

“I want you to see the bodies pile up” explores the separation of identity and worth from the protagonist’s own experiences.

I devoured this book and admired how Foley captured the art of humankind by sharing different character interactions that creates real and relatable content for readers.

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