What-I-Read-Wednesday: The First Book of Calamity Leek


I won’t lie, I was disappointed with this book. I picked it up from the library on a whim after reading the blurb and seeing the review from Mark Haddon, whose books are normally a good read.

However, from the outset the writing style seemed clunky and this made the book very difficult to get into to because of the disjointed feel. Obviously this was a deliberate character choice from the author to help develop Calamity’s narration voice, but I just found it tough to understand and felt no real urge to carry on reading from the beginning.

It probably took me over a week to finish this book because I was not enjoying it nor was I excited to see what the ending was (I did end up skipping a few pages to find out the ending and it was very…open.) The plot was interesting enough, but the writing style coupled with the nonsensical inclusion of words Calamity uses to describe things was enough to put me off giving it more than two stars.

In my opinion, concepts such as ‘demonmales’ were never really explained, and Calamity’s perspective is extremely limited on giving us the ‘proper’ backstory which is probably why I felt frustrated for the entirety of my reading experience. I understand that this is just my own view, and other readers may have loved the quirky writing style and unfolding of the story, but I just found it irritating.

The characters themselves, especially the ‘sisters’ seemed flat and wooden cardboard cutouts that didn’t have the opportunity to develop. Calamity appears to have no interest in describing the ‘nieces’ as anything beyond a sentence, which annoyed me, especially considering they were her only company aside from ‘Aunty’ and ‘Mother’ for goodness knows how many years.

Read this book if you do not mind finishing the book not really knowing what happened throughout the entire thing.

– Rhan