Friday 29 April 2022

BLOOD SUGAR by Sascha Rothchild

She's accused of four murders. She's only guilty of three...

When Ruby was a child growing up in Miami, she saw a boy from her school struggling against the ocean waves while his parents were preoccupied. Instead of helping him, Ruby dove under the water and held his ankle down until he drowned. She waited to feel guilty for it, but she never did.

And, as Ruby will argue in her senior thesis while studying psychology at Yale, guilt is sort of like eating ice cream while on a diet - if you're already feeling bad, why not eat the whole carton? And so, the bodies start to stack up.

Twenty-five years later, Ruby's in an interrogation room under suspicion of murder, being shown four photographs. Each is a person she once knew, now deceased. The line-up includes her husband Jason. She is responsible for three of the four deaths... but it might be the crime that she didn't commit that will finally ensnare her.   

This is a book that caught my eye as soon as I read the blurb. And it did NOT disappoint.

Ruby is a therapist in Miami Beach, but is now sitting inside an interrogation room with a detective and four photographs. She's been accused of killing her husband, Paul. And although Ruby is no stranger to murder, this is one she didn't actually commit... 

Wow. Just wow. This was such a brilliant story! 

When I started reading this, I found the first chapter quite shocking and a little disorienting. I mean, why would a kid do that? BUT, after reading the next chapter and the one after that, it soon became very apparent why that happened. It was still shocking, but now I HAD to find out more about Ruby's life and why she found herself inside a police station at the age of thirty.

The writing style is addictive. The way everything unfolds while she sits inside the stuffy (and freezing) room as each photo sends her mind back to the past, was very well executed. Every single flashback Ruby remembers and shares with the reader is important in some way. No detail is too small to fit seamlessly into the heart of this gritty account by a woman trying to survive in her own way, and by her own rules.

Ruby is one of those murky characters who on the surface appears to be somewhat unhinged, even psychotic. Yet, the more I got to know her, the more I realised how intelligent she really was and how she was able to justify everything about herself and everyone around her.

The way she narrates her truth is so commanding, that I couldn't look away. Even when I knew something really awful was waiting ahead, I pushed on because nothing mattered more than delving deeper into this woman's complicated life. 

Also, I really liked Mr. Cat and Kangaroo. The fact she loved animals was something I didn't expect but truly appreciated. As well as the portrayal of sisterly and platonic love.

Blood Sugar is a riveting and disturbing book because it doesn't shy away from the raw reality of life, people, and their personal motivations. Good or bad, everything is seen under the garish light of reality without its many daily filters. Plus, it does a great job at exposing the innermost unfiltered thoughts that race through everyone's minds more often than they would care to admit. Every single moment of this story is fascinating, and even though Ruby did commit some awful things, I often found myself really liking her. This woman believed in her convictions and actually did what she thought was right. 

I enjoyed the hell out of this deeply psychological study into the human psyche. 

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

Blood Sugar, April 2022, ISBN 9781398705616, Trapeze

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