Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Review of 'What Doesn't Kill You'* by Laura E James

Before I go any further with this review, I would like to state several trigger warnings. The book contains topics including rape, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and self harm. Although this makes the book sound incredibly depressive and dark, it is actually an incredibly uplifting and well written story. 

The author doesn't simply allude to serious instances of rape or self harm and make them appear standalone in their impact on the story or the character, but rather has a much more realistic approach, making the impact of them on the characters shown throughout the novel. Indeed, she handles these sensitive storylines with such care and dexterity that it is probably the most accurate portrayal of teenage self harm I have ever read in a novel. 

Aside from these themes, the book largely deals with love and loss, and how these two have infinite connections. I loved the fact that both of the main adult characters, Griff and Evie have baggage that they bring to the relationship. It is both realistic and endearing. Indeed, the tough family dynamic with an ill father, a grumpy teenage stepdaughter and young son is also incredibly well done.


Griff simply can't understand why Evie doesn't want him in her life anymore. They've built a life together, and a family together - what has happened? With no home to go to, and no one to lean on, Griff throws himself into his work as a coast guard. little does he know that Evie hasn't stopped loving him - she loves him more than ever and that's why she's distanced himself. As well as looking after her daughter from a previous relationship and her and Griff's young son, Evie has become the full time sole carer for Griff's decrepit father. This is something she loves doing, but there's one problem: he wants her help in euthanising himself. She knows that if Griff found out he could never forgive her, so distancing herself from him seems to cause the least pain. But does it really? And what will happen when someone else enters the scene to rock their marital boat even further?

Buy it here

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x


  1. Thank you so much, Steph. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read and review WDKY. Delighted you enjoyed it :-)