The Lost Thumb By Orla Owen
‘The Lost Thumb’ is Orla Owen’s debut novel.
Lara and Luella Jeffreys lead isolated lives until the night they are left alone for the first time, and Luella decides to have some fun. That evening goes horribly wrong. After Luella wakes up in hospital, she’s kept prisoner at home with her mother acting as her warden. Lara is sent to school to keep up the pretence that she is fine, her sister is fine, and the world is fine. Except they aren’t. The local storekeeper, sensing that something’s wrong, pushes her son to befriend Lara but the results of her meddling are deadly…
I started reading this book late one Friday evening and even though the plot of the story is extremely dark and unsettling, I found it to be quite addictive reading. The story is seen solely through the narrative of Lara, a young teenage who is bullied at the hands of her controlling and cruel mother. She only has her twin sister for company, but even she’s not well with their mother giving her drugs to control her behaviour. Luella is kept at home whilst Lara tries to maintain that her life is perfectly normal, although everything is ripping at the seams. As Lara tries to keep up the pretence that nothing is wrong, people around her are convinced otherwise and are trying to help her even though she is actively pushing them away. A tragic turns of events changes Lara’s lifestyle and she finds herself in a whole new world and trying to adapt to a new way of life.
As a debut novel, this book handles a challenging and disturbing topic with such care and sensitivity. Both Lara and her twin sister Luella are the tragic victims in the story and the reader feels a strong empathy and connection with them. Their mother is a horribly controlling and nasty woman and she makes for addictive and shocking reading in parts. Lara is a complex and fascinating character as she deals with her mothers behaviour, the fear of losing her best friend and sister as well as dealing with being the town oddball in the bleak suburban community. There are scenes of self harm in the story as Lara tries to deal with things and this does make for unsettling reading. Although the story of abuse and control is a deeply dark topic, Orla writes with wit and flair that leaves the reader smiling unexpectedly.
A compelling story about controlling relationships and new discoveries, ‘The Lost Thumb’ is a distinctively written story that pulls the reader in from the very beginning. Riddled with drama and despair this book was impossible to put down.
You can buy ‘The Lost Thumb’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.