A curious scheme is afoot in Blighty. Attempting to tackle spiralling levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, the government has a new solution: to dye offenders purple.
For once, even journalist Eve Baxter is shocked – she’s spent years gathering the world’s weird and wacky news, but has never seen anything as loopy as this. Learning of these shamed ‘bruises on society’, the nation is agog – and divided. There’s anger and agreement, protest and debate. Oh, green and pleasant and now purple land…
But still, there’s a mystery to be solved: just how do the transformations to Purpleness occur? Transfixed by clues and conspiracies, Eve wonders if this could be her route into real news. And when her friends and family are affected by the Purple scheme, she begins to investigate…
This book is original, hilarious, wacky and current. I can see this being my choice for most original book of the second half of 2020 and it’s only July.
There are so many parallels with what’s going on at the moment as well as things from the past. The question is asked at one point whether getting it wrong from time to time is worth it because it’s the best deterrent possible. People used to say that about capital punishment – in fact for a lot of people I know that is why they are against it (not because it’s barbaric, medieval and inhumane). Then there are the human rights issues (groan from the anti-snowflakes), the lack of transparency (I’m talking government secrets not a semi-opaque shade of lavender), how it’s administered, who is doing it – the questions are endless. I keep thinking Boris and Brexit – let’s let the public decide (more groans this time from the Remainers).
As a ‘liberal snowflake Remoaner’ (my favourite Twitter insult) I hate the whole idea, but even for me there are times during the book when I think – well I won’t lose any sleep over HIM being ‘turned’.
These are the serious issues though. The humour in this book is so brilliant. The purple people are referred to as Lavs (a mash-up of lavender and chavs) and there are endless different versions of purple from plum and mauve to indigo and violet, with a good degree of alliteration thrown in. The banter between the characters is one of the best things about the book. It’s hilarious.
Then of course we have Eve our hero and main protagonist. Eve is my soul sister – always feeling like an under-achiever, not taking the bull by the horns because she is not brave enough. Taking the easy route and hating confrontation. But this is her chance to prove herself and she throws herself in, albeit more stumble than jump, but we love her nonetheless.
And there are lots of other characters that we love or hate – her horrible brother Simon, her Lothario dad, her doormat mother, Simon’s friend Duncan, Adio, Womble, Helena, conspiracy theorist Bob, Annie and of course Magnus. We all had a bit of a crush on Magnus.
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole, my fellow Pigeons and to Kate for making this such an enjoyable read.
About the Author
Kate grew up in a small seaside town, and after spending her formative years writing stories – and being most strongly influenced by the unlikely combo of George Orwell, Victoria Wood and Smash Hits – went to university to study Writing and Publishing. She then spent over a decade working in film, mostly in New York (capers included being a casting gal on quite the cinematic smorgasbord: from Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd and Paul Greengrass’ United 93, to an assortment of romantic comedies, and Spiceworld, the Spice Girls movie). While in New York she also dabbled in stand up comedy. In 2011 she was part of the second Curtis Brown Creative novel-writing course, and recently a short story anthology written by that group, The Book of Unwritten Rules, was published. In addition to developing further novels, Kate is also writing a sitcom series. A seaside lass once more, Kate believes her achievements to include resistance to owning a smart phone, and being told that she has a`troubling addiction to parentheses’.