With so many different themes to uncover, The Choke by Sofie Laguna is a journey that you do not want to miss.
Abandoned by her mother and seldom visited by her unpredictable, violent father, ten-year-old Justine is raised by her grandfather, Pop – a man tormented by visions of war.
Through years of poverty and neglect, Justine finds solace in the staggering natural beauty of the nearby Murray River. But when outside threats infiltrate even this sanctuary, who is there to protect her from danger?
Exposed to the lethal world, she must navigate the final years of her precarious childhood alone. She must find ways to survive, she must run when she has to, and, ultimately, she must fight back.
It was a truly mesmerising read
The Choke really tackles so many different challenging topics, but ultimately for me, it’s about a girl’s challenges growing up without a female figure in her life, around men who have their own issues, and also how they treat her.
Surprisingly, this was a lot easier to read than I thought it would be. It’s in first person and has lots of conversation. It was captivating, and I didn’t want to put it down, but the topics did make for some challenging paragraphs which you may (like me) read with one eye closed.
The voice of Justine really came across, and at times it was so very heartbreaking. One of the things that will stick with me about this book is the fact Justine found is so difficult to find her voice, even when saying ‘thank you’ – it’s hard reading about how she perceives herself and other things too.
The writing just dragged you in, and it’s done incredibly well. There’s so much detail and thought that has gone into every word; it was a truly mesmerising read.
It is a very powerful and uplifting story with some hard to swallow chapters; I wish there was slightly more closure in the ending, because I cared so deeply for the characters.
I’m a tough cookie, so this didn’t make me cry, but I definitely had a lump in my throat by the end of the book.
The journey in The Choke is meaningful, and I can imagine that I’ll take different messages away each time.
The Choke, Sofie Laguna, RRP £14.99 (hardback); Book Depository
Publisher: Gallic Books