Cover Image: Bodies

Bodies

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Member Reviews

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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It's hard to believe this is a debut novel, not just because of the beautiful writing (although there's that) or the clever structure (although there's that too) but because of the author's wisdom and insight. It's a real accomplishment to write so unflinchingly and candidly about sexual abuse within relationships without ever making it feel exploitative. Brilliant.

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I thought this book was great. I initially found the timeline confusing as it jumps around quite a bit, but quickly stopped noticing that.

The characters are relatable and well written. I’d recommend going into this completely blind, I was totally taken by surprise by the twist!

Looking forward to seeing what’s next from Christine Anne Foley 😊

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“ Johnny Casey was the first, he was tall and handsome, I was young and brave enough, after getting three vodkas inside me, to go and talk to him. At 17, I was on the outskirts looking in at all the cool people, including Johnny’s brother Lar, a gorgeous and dangerous obsession. A bit later, there was Dave, we met at college and we were toxic. We were never alone, someone always interfered, my friends hated him and vice versa, but strangely, I felt safe with him. Then there was Kyle and he broke me, but ultimately I was the one that broke him. One thing was for sure, in that household, things were very messed up and complicated. Next came Adam from the North, casual in his Adidas tracksuit, he seemed cute but that was my mistake. Finally, there’s You and I adored you, but things just went from bad to worse.”

This powerful debut novel set in Dublin and narrated in the first person by Charlotte Murphy, is one of those reads that leaves you somewhat “gobsmacked”. I think this is one that I’ll continue to reel from a few days or more from now. Her reflections, her memories, the encounters, relationships, and her friendships are dark and gets darker and darker. When we first meet her as an older teenager, it seems at this point to be all about games and gameplaying, There’s drink, there’s drugs, there are obsessions, there’s gaslighting, and the writing captures those times to perfection. You have no idea of what is to come and that’s probably a good thing. From the start though, you realise just how perceptive Charlotte is, especially her insights into bodies and control. It becomes increasingly raw, honest and devastating. She’s at times vulnerable, at others you feel and empathise with her uncertainty, she loves and she loses and at times, feels shame. It becomes apparent that Charlotte is very damaged and flawed but the question is what makes her that way? The men who treat her badly or is it something else? That keeps me immersed in the storyline.

The novel is so well written that the author makes me feel as if I’m living this life through Charlotte which is a bit uncomfortable, but it’s undoubtedly clever and powerful writing. As the storyline and the men drift through her life and it reaches the climax of the story I don’t think I’m prepared for what’s to come. It absolutely socks you between the eyes and shocks you to the core as it’s not in the least bit what I expect. However, on reflection, you realise that once you know the situation and about Charlotte‘s past that after the disasters and the tragedies, things are only going to go one way.

Overall, this is a very different and well written novel and it might be a marmite book. I’m not entirely convinced I love it but what I can say with certainty is that it’s gripping, at times it’s extremely tense, almost to the hold your breath stage, the ending is incredible and it’s one heck of a read.

With thanks to NetGalley, and especially to John Murray Press for granting my wish to read this book in return for an honest review.

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4.25 stars!!

I went into this not really knowing what it was about and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed reading about the different relationships and a lot of things that were said resonated with me. This story is a FUCK YOU to the men that gaslight, abuse, manipulate and use women. I am so on side w that. And the ending knocked me sideways, I don’t know how but I really did not see it coming. Very gripping read - but I am a nosy bitch and love reading about peoples relationships which is essentially what this is (even if it is fictional)

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Charlotte is a teacher living in Dublin. She
tells her life story through her relationship with her sister and the men she has sex with, none of whom are particularly pleasant. It's a short book and I wasn't sure where it was going but I enjoyed the twist at the end

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Charlotte, is a secondary school teacher in South Dublin and the book is about her history and current relationship. The narrative in written in a stream of consciousness style and jumps about back and forward in time. This takes us into Charlotte's character deeply and creates a sense of intimacy and almost suffocation. We learn about all the traumatic things outside of her control that have happened to Charlotte in the past and the doomed trajectory of her sexual relationships from her teens onwards into adulthood. I can see this will be a great summer page turning read and seems ripe for a screen/TV adaptation. I can't say, given the subject matter, that I enjoyed the tale but it was weirdly gripping.

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This was an experience. It was more open door then I was expecting and no speech marks. It was a page turner.

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Bodies by Christine Anne Foley is a striking and powerful debut. It is raw, dark and unflinching narrative of the relationships that have shaped our protagonist’s life. There is more than meets the eye to this novel, however, and I would argue that the blinder you go into this one the better. That said, there are significant trigger warnings to consider. 4.5 🌟

Bodies is told from Charlotte’s perspective in stream of consciousness style narrative. The novel is guided by the different relationships Charlotte finds herself in throughout her life, up to the point at which she’s telling her story. Interspersed amongst these more straightforward chronological tales are chapters entitled ‘You’ and ‘Saoirse’, each of which revolve around two significant individuals to Charlotte. I felt that the time jumps worked well and the way Foley peppered them in really helped to build intrigue, but also helped you to better understand Charlotte.

It’s difficult to say much about Charlotte without giving too much away. She is someone who has been significantly impacted and shaped by events far out of her control. She is someone that has been manipulated by those she sought comfort in. She is also someone who makes some pretty destructive choices throughout. I’ll say nothing about the twist but wow!

I found the way Foley bookended her story to be fascinating, exploring the idea that woman are consumed by the men who takes pieces of what make them who they are. Additionally Charlotte’s thoughts on the origins and growth of female shame were very powerful.

This is a dark and powerful read. It’s not for the faint hearted but it’s certainly one I’d recommend.

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A read in one day book - there will be no food produced in the house until I have finished this book!

Loved, loved, loved it. There is a creeping sense of unease as Charlotte leads us through her relationships, with the mix up of timelines and men building tension and mystery.

I don’t want to spoil the story - go and read it for yourself!

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I was drawn to Bodies by the blurb; sadly everyone has either experienced first-hand or knows of someone who has experienced at least one (if not all) of the scenarios described - gas lighting, love bombing, or cheating.
Bodies is a summary of the protagonist's intimate relationships and how the acts and memories of these relationships shape her.
Although Bodies is a relatable read, the content could however be a trigger for some survivors of sexual violence.

"And the not feeling was the prize. The lack of warmth or love or even the lack of tears, this was what I chased, this feeling of pure emptiness. And I'd go home and I'd sleep well knowing that I could be that intimate, that vulnerable without feeling anything at all."

The author's acknowledgement of the men who helped shape the content of Bodies is a nice touch! Thanks, John Murray Press and NetGalley for an advance copy.

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Powerful read that speaks the truth of what it's is like not to quite fit, how traumatic loss shapes up and how it is to be a woman in a man's world.
The main character Charlotte is engaging, she is complex and interesting her voice spanning present day and the past keeps you reading long after your light should have turned out. Beautifully flawed Charlotte will take you on her journey that is heartbreaking, dark and thrilling in equal measures.
The twist is fantastic and for me really made the book all that bit more and then some.
Highly recommended. This book stands out in the new trend for woman taking revenge books, it is deep and insightful.

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The synopsis for this one was fairly vague but definitely intriguing. This novel tells the story of Charlotte and follows her growing up in Dublin and the relationships which she engaged with during her young adult life.

Really promising debut novel which I did enjoy and would definitely look out for this author in the future.

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The description of this book is vague, so I was intrigued, and this was unexpected in a good way.

We follow Charlotte and the timeline of her life. That timeline is fragmented, going back and forward. It's all focused on the relationships she has had with men. We also learn of her childhood and a traumatic event that changed her life forever, and it's relevant to the kind of person she goes on to become.

I'm not a fan of the first-person, stream-of-consciousness narrative, but I do like character studies and the writing was nice, so I ended up enjoying this one more than I initially thought I would.

I do have to say, the time jumps get a bit messy, the relationships get a bit old after a while, and the twist is predictable. I was also not a fan of the MC, but she was interesting to uncover, especially her motivations, and the writing kept me hooked. It's quite a dark, raw read.

This is a hate letter to the type of men who make it their life's mission to damage, use, and abuse women, and I vibed with that.

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This was a good book!

I wasn’t a fan of the style, back and forth in time with jumps about around different people but it was a great overall story.

It’s nice to see a book written with this perspective and the detail it goes into.

Would recommend to friends and have done so already!

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This was such a powerful read and it was one I couldn't put down. I knew I had to absorb all of Charlotte's story!

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"... it was in these moments that I realised how our bodies controlled us, how our bodies were not merely vessels but in fact dictators with their own resolve."

This debut novel is set in Dublin. It's in first person narrative from Charlotte's POV as she navigates her mid/late twenties as a teacher in South Dublin. The timelines are broken up by what man she is seeing at the time, and their encounters and relationships are told to the reader. The effects of each relationship are evident in the next as a result of the gas lighting and mistreatment Charlotte endured. We get glimpses into her troubled family life as a prepubescent teenager.

I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. I love books set in Dublin. I couldn't read this fast enough. I adored it!!! This debut is packed with beautiful prose. Poetic evocative imagery that absolutely broke my heart. A deeply devastating, dark debut.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Read this if you liked Lustre, Insatiable, or any of those deeply devastating character driven books.

Huge thanks to John Murrays for an arc in exchange for an honest review. I've followed @yellowpolkadotbikini poetry for a few years now, so when Bodies went up on Netgalley I wasted no time in requesting an ARC.

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Charlotte is a secondary school teacher who takes us on a journey of the relationships she's had with men since her teens,and their impact on the woman she has become. This book is definitely a page turner so it does draw you in and being roughly in the age bracket as the character, I enjoyed some of the references from her teens.
Bodies is like Oh My God what a complete Ashling's darker, damaged, and way edgier cousin. While it wasn't for me overall, I do think Bodies will be a popular summer read

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DNF - I liked the concept of this story but, I found the approach (the style) difficult to follow. I can appreciate what the author was trying to do but the format of this e-book combined with the jumbled conversation/monologue style of storytelling, left me feeling like a third wheel standing outside the brick building trying to eavesdrop; a rather unsuccessful pursuit.

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I cannot remember the last time I had such a strong urge to not put a book down!! Finished over one weekend, despite having lots of plans as I spend every extra moment reading this.

The writing was beautiful, the narrative was gripping and I will be recommending to everyone I know when it comes out!

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