Review – The Doll Funeral

Kate Hamer Faber Books 2017

‘My name is Ruby.  I live with Barbara and Mick.  They are not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say.  I’m supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.

But there are things I won’t say.  I won’t tell them I’m going to hunt for my real parents.  I don’t say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.’  Taken from the book blurb

I was unsure what to expect when commencing this novel but based on the appearance ( I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover!) it looked like a psychological thriller – to me anyway!  This book is in part a ghost story, Ruby sees ghosts although it is not always made explicit to the reader who is a ghost and this made for a somewhat confusing read for me at times.  Ruby is also an abused child who discovers on her 13th birthday that Barbara and Mick, the adults she lives with are not her parents.  Ruby sets out to find her parents, believing there must be someone in the world who loves her and will treat her well.  Set in and around the forest, this context adds a layer of mystique to story overall.

I struggled with this book and mentioned this on my Instagram feed and received a number of comments by others who had not finished the book.

I also read some mixed reviews, with one reviewer suggesting this may have been marketed wrongly, which resulted in incorrect expectations.  That said, I did persevere, it is very unusual for me not to finish a book and this was no exception and I concluded that the story was fine.  I preferred the ‘concrete’ parts, the story of Ruby within her family and her relationships with Barbara and Mick.  I found the latter part of the book easier as things became clearer and I struggled with the ambiguity of the first half of the book.  It became clear to me that I prefer clarity in my reading and the fantasy / sci fi genre is one I struggle with.

While this book is not at all like The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, for me it was reminiscent in terms of having aspects that were other wordly and not always ‘solid’.  For me this is too vague and so not a great read, but for fans of this type of book then I am sure this is a good read.

2.5 / 3 stars from me….


One thought on “Review – The Doll Funeral

  1. I’ve not read this, as I wasn’t all that taken with Hamer’s debut, The Girl in the Red Coat. From what I’ve read – both from you and other reviewers – I don’t think I’ll be trying this one out any time soon.


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