Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent book review

I picked up Strange Sally Diamond after I had selected a few books I could take on a short staycation with me and then it was narrowed down by me reading the blurbs to my partner and her deciding on one based on that. It’s a unique story with a great and loveable main character with some dark moments heavily layered in that keep those interested in darker storylines interested.

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Strange Sally Diamond, maybe unsurprisingly to some, tells the story of Sally Diamond and when one day she throws her dead father out into the incinerator because he once joked with her that when he died she should just “throw him out with the rubbish” and what a fuss this causes and how it begins a real personal journey for Sally.

However, it does also tell the story of what turns out to be her brother. This isn’t much of a spoiler as his tale is a vast amount of the book. His story tells from an almost alternative perspective to Sally which is interesting to read from.

Strange Sally Diamond plot – 4.25/5

The story of Sally’s past is a dark one that if you’re somebody who doesn’t particularly like dark, uncomfortable stories may make you feel a little uncomfortable. However, as someone who’s not that bothered about anything like that, I found it really interesting and tense. Sally essentially finds out that she was born and initially lived in the cellar of a captor for a few years before being adopted by another man who then attempted to keep her as safe as he could.

As a result of this, Sally is different to other people. Due to a lack of proper human interaction, she struggles with cues and to know when people are laghing with her or at her for example. Sometimes it can be quite humorous and sometimes the people that know her well find it amusing, however other times it can get her into trouble as she struggles to filter what she means to say.

The story itself though a really interesting read with a great main character had a fairly average pace and ending to it. Sally was a brilliant main character that kept me enjoying the story and there were some great and loveable moments and interactions with her. Her brother’s story was also a really interesting one ot read. However, I was honestly expecting a plot twist or a big moment that shock me but unfortunately it didn’t.

I think I’d heard a lot of hype around this book and so possibly expected more, however I ended up enjoying it but feeling let down when it didn’t reach the heights some said it had.

Strange Sally Diamond characters – 4.5/5

Sally herself is an absolute joy. Props to Nugent here for choosing to take on a character with clear social deficiencies – I imagine it’s harder to constantly think how somebody like that would react and speak in every single situation as it’s not the same natural way that many others would.

Sally’s social awkwardness blossoms over the course of the book thanks to some genuinely lovely people around her supporting her along the way. They invite her to events, always remember her physical and personal boundaries and are always willing to include her and adapt themselves to suit her better.

The rest of the cast of characters are mostly fine with Sally’s brother being the other strongest. He’s a complicated and dark character who’s personalty is almost 100% affected by his experience as a child (again, don’t wan to spoil too much).

Strange Sally Diamond final rating – 4.25/5

I think it was really brave of Nugent to write a main character like Sally. To constantly have to think outside of your own comfort zones to consider what somebody else’s physical and personal boundaries might be when writing a character must have been a real challenge, but she’s executed it wonderfully. Sally is a joy to read and makes the whole book worth reading. However, a story that never quite reached the heights I was expecting it to and an ending that sort of just petered out was a little disappointing for a book that a lot of people sung much praise about.

Buy a copy of Strange Sally Diamond

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