Title: The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock
Author: Kenny Boyle
Release Date: 3/5/22
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 51
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free copy from the Author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
An aspiring writer from the Southside of Glasgow, Wendy is in a rut. She tries to brighten her call-centre job by shoehorning as many long words as possible into conversations with customers. But her manager isn’t amused by that and, after a public dressing-down, Wendy walks out.
Jobless and depressed, she finds consolation in a surprise friendship with another disgruntled ex-colleague, wild-child painter Cat, who encourages her to live more dangerously. It’s just what Wendy needs and it’s also brilliant for her creative juices. But a black cloud is about to overshadow this new-found liberation, as well as to put Wendy on the wrong side of the law.
Fresh, insightful and funny, as well as unflinchingly honest about the tougher side of life, Kenny Boyle’s debut novel takes us deep into the psyche of a likeable misfit who treads a fine line between reality and fantasy – and just wants the world to see her true self.
Full disclosure, Kenny and I have wondered in and out of each others lives over the years, mixing in similar social groups in our university days. I have had the privilege of seeing many of his works over the years and I have always been awed at the level of dedication and passion he puts into everything he does. So I knew his debut novel was going to be something to be excited about and I wasn’t wrong. I devoured this in an evening that had me crying with laughter, reading parts out to my husband and missing the characters when I closed the book.
I felt an almost instant connection to Wendy. I really identified with her inner monologue, the way she worried and fretted about the world around her, her anxiety but also how she worked around those fears. Granted, I also recognised a lot of the setting. I am from Glasgow originally and therefore could really picture all the locations from Cat’s Shawland’s bedsit to the Galleries of the West-End.
Wendy was also an incredibly funny character. Right from the start of the book the sense of humour was just joyous. In fact chapter 5 had me in tears I was laughing so much. On the other hand I found this book incredibly moving too. It perfectly captures the feelings of depression and social anxiety, while also having the building of a really realistic feeling friendship. Cat is also one of those very intriguing people where you never quite know what is going on behind the façade they hold up and she was written so well that like Wendy you wanted to know more and get pulled in just like Wendy investing you, the reader, just as much as she is in where the story goes.
Overall, I really enjoyed the quirky characters, thoughtful attention to mental health with moments of light and dark that were perfectly paced and a fun story that just kept the pages turning. Its definitely a book I will re-read when I want comfort, laughter and to be left with a smile on my face.