Friday, 6 March 2020

Distorted Days by Louise Worthington

Distorted Days by Louise Worthington
Published by PublishNation on the 28th November 2019.

If she could speak to them, she would say they have exploded her heart, released firecrackers through her senses. She wishes she could call the police, the ambulance, the fire brigade, to arrest and anaesthetise and waterboard the bastards.

So what happens when your husband runs off with your best friend? When you discover the dead body of an old man halfway through your delivery round? When your house is burgled and you get beaten up? Doris, Andy and Colleen are about to find out. They’re also about to discover that you can find friendship and support in the oddest of places…

Heart-rending, humorous and above all authentic, Distorted Days is an exquisitely written account of the ways in which life can knock you off our feet – and how you can pick yourself up again. If you’ve experienced the fickleness of fortune, this is a book that you’ll never forget.

I was initially attracted to Distorted Days by its austere cover art - monochrome with a dash of mustard yellow - and the jagged font which suggested that this novel would be something different from the ordinary run of domestically themed drama stories. Within just a few pages I was gripped by Louise Worthington's prose and her circular storytelling style. We soon discovered that heart-broken Doris likes her wine rather too much and I loved the repeated refrains that accompany each return to the bottle. As someone who has struggled against alcohol addiction myself, I appreciated the authenticity of these scenes.

Worthington has a wonderful understanding of her characters. In less empathic hands Doris especially, but also Andy and Colleen, could easily have become overblown two-dimensional caricatures. Instead they felt so real that I found myself missing their friendship when I finally closed this book. Their believable reactions to what are unfortunately common life events depict how easily our mental stability can be derailed by unpredictable shocks. What was so poignant though was how their need to present a certain stoic face to the outside world exacerbated their suffering behind closed doors. It's all too easy to allow a person's public face to mask their inner turmoil and to accept their protestations of being 'just fine' when we have our own lives to navigate. Distorted Days' exploration of self-inflicted emotional isolation reminded me of Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston and I feel that readers who enjoyed Hilston's similarly themed novel will also like this one.

My review so far does, I think, make Distorted Days sound like a much heavier read than it actually is. Despite its serious themes, Worthington's writing has a humorous lightness that kept me happily engrossed in this story while also giving me a lot to mull over after finishing. I do like a novel that gets me thinking! Distorted Days, also, was definitely written by a keen reader so, from its frequent mentions of other books and authors to its hushed library setting, I felt very much at home.

Meet the author   

Louise is the author of ‘Distorted Days’ and ‘Rachel’s Garden of Rooms.’ ‘The Entrepreneur’ will be available later in 2020. ‘The Thief’, a short story published by Park Publications, is available to download Louise Worthington's website.

Before writing full time, Louise worked mainly as an English teacher after getting a degree in Literature and later, studying business and psychology at Masters level.

Louise grew up in Cheshire and now resides in Shropshire.

“Louise’s characters, without exception, are skilfully wrought which make the reader genuinely care for them.”

Author links: 
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter

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  1. This did sound like it was going to be a heavy read so I'm glad to know it wasn't.

    1. I think Louise struck a great balance between the seriousness of the subject and an entertaining lightness in her writing

  2. I didn't know you also had this struggle and I am glad you could find those scenes and the representation the addiction to be so authentic and realistic. It sounds like the friendship was a strong element of the story. And I think the sound of how it portrays wanting to be seen by the world outside and how things really are is a truth many people can relate to. Sounds like a good read!

    1. I think most people would recognise aspects of themselves in Distorted Days. It's a great portrait of how we try and hide ourselves, especially from people whom we'd actually be better opening up to!