Publication Date: 5th May 2022
When I was very kindly offered a proof copy of Sedating Elaine by Dawn Winter I knew I had to jump at the chance as it sounded so wild! On the surface it’s a book about a young woman who goes about sedating her girlfriend so that she can pay off her drug dealer and finally get a bit of peace and quiet, BUT underneath it is so much more!
So we meet Frances, a young woman who at the start of the book has completely had enough of her girlfriend Elaine, a larger than life character who is constantly on the go, making noise, bothering Frances for sex and generally being ‘too much’ for Frances to deal with. Frances is very tempted to call it quits with Elaine but she’s fallen into almost an inertia with the relationship. She does however have a regular relationship with her drug dealer, a little too regular some might say, and she’s run up quite the debt with him. He’s now making threatening noises if he doesn’t get what he’s owed soon.
Frances in her desperation asks Elaine to move in with her and pay an extortionate amount towards the ‘rent’ (or Frances’ drug dealer!) knowing her family is not short of money. However the plan backfires when Elaine blasts into Frances’ flat, a previous haven of quiet for Frances. Just when she is wondering what the hell she’s done, Frances has a bright idea, she will sedate Elaine to get some peace and quiet…..just until the first ‘rent’ payment comes in…..what could possibly go wrong?…..
Frances is a fascinating character. She has suffered a broken relationship with a woman she deeply loved, this has broken her heart and led in part to her falling into the relationship with exuberant Elaine and being swept along almost against her will with very little strength in her to fight it. She just goes along with the life that she’s been dealt, using drugs and alcohol as a crutch and a means to get through day by day.
Over the course of the story we also learn about snapshots of Frances’s childhood, a very lonely childhood with no mother in her life and a father who tried his best but was very distant. Frances also alludes throughout the narrative to the fact that she killed a little boy when she was young, something which is later unravelled for us.
This is most definitely unlike any book I’ve read. In a good way. It’s crazy and perhaps on paper shouldn’t be 100% believable yet it absolutely is! It has a dark humour running all the way through it but moments of such tenderness and emotion too.
It was an absolute blast and I really enjoyed it! I think this is Dawn Winter’s debut novel which makes me very excited about what she will think of next.
Thank you to Emily Moran and Little Brown for my review copy.
See you all soon.
Amanda xx @bookishchat