Books: The Tale of Raw Head & Bloody Bones
I picket up this book on sale during a trip to London, mostly captivated by the cover. Upon reading the backside and warnings of it being “macabre” I was intrigued, and wondered if this was in fact true.
The first impression was a mixed feeling, as the language imitates that of the time where the plot is set, a few centuries ago. But Beyond the first page this did not affect the flow in any way, and I actually found the book to be very easy read compared to the books I’ve lastly been devouring.
The main character is a very troubled young man, with an obsession with science and pain, combined with the mind of a madman. The borders between his imagination and reality are cleverly confusing, and I was hooked by the confusion of what was actually happening. Was his best friend real? The girls? Did anything really happen? What was going on?
As the story escalates and his mind with it, we are taken through anatomical dissections which may be a bit macabre for some readers, but I myself found to be written with an anatomical and scientific focus - thus being no problem at all to read. As a physiologist it was quite fun and interesting, but I do see why people could find these scenes more hard to understand, as he used a vocabulary not everyone is too familiar with.
Another aspect of this book includes his sadistic tendencies and his struggle to understand and accept why he felt the things he did. The tale displays a big array of feelings from guild, incomprehension to excitement, and I mostly found this to be quite interesting. A few scenes went a bit graphic which may not be suitable to all audience, including the times he went a bit too far.
I do not agree with some of the critique I’ve read about this book, especially when comparing it to a currently quite popular book.This is not fifty shades of grey. In fact I don’t see any similarities, and cannot understand how the two books can be compared.
There were scenes I found to be a bit over the top, and at two occasions I skipped parts based on the combination of cutting and intercourse, which I had little interest in reading. I would also like to mention that I would not in any way classify this book as mainly erotic as some reviews imply, as these scenes are far between and can easily be skipped should anyone wish so.
There are several characters in this book, which I see described as weak or without depth in several reviews. I do not agree. I think these writers merely did not like the plot and concept of the story and instead of saying so claim they are depth-less. Not all people are redeemable or likeable. This is not a romance. It is a conflicting and escalating madness, and flawed characters with their hopeless and unfixable traits. And in my eyes, this was what made it an interesting book.
So did I like the book?
I don’t know. I have never before read a similar book, and had no idea of where the plot would take me. It was involving and made me hide the book, stare angrily at the book, put it away, get sad, laugh and try to talk to those around me which clearly had no idea of what I was talking about. It was heartbreaking, ugly, interesting, wonderful and confusing.
So did I like it? I don’t know. But in a jungle of similarity and books twisting the same tales back and forth, it stands out as a story I am not likely to forget in a while.
It was a good read.
But it is not for everyone.