Book #44

Heather by G.C. McKay

14 Reasons Why You Should Get With
Heather Loralie

H. You’ve never known anyone who makes you feel the way she does
E. She’s drop dead gorgeous, with the best body you’ve ever seen
A. The clothes she wears are all inadvertent cosplay outfits
T.  She can keep secrets (?)
H. She won’t hit the wall for decades
E. She’s never mentioned anything about being a feminist
R. She looks at you the same way you do her

L. You’ve never heard her talk about her dietary preferences
O. When you’re with her the world is more vibrant, more... colourful
R. She somehow makes dungarees look good
A. She’s the only girl you’ve ever truly wanted to protect
L. Since you have no children, with her, you get to play father
I.  She’ll remain fertile for decades
E. She hasn’t ploughed her way through more pipe than Andy Dufresne

1 Reason You Should NOT Get With
Heather Loralie


14. Making you, 21 years her senior.
You’re 35, Michael. 35.
Heather is 14.

Heather Loralie is fourteen years old.

Fucking Michael. We’ve all met this guy; a 30-something no-hoper who has done nothing with his life, has no redeemable qualities, is an absolute pain in the arse, yet thinks he has wit and intelligence beyond anyone else around him. The type of guy who believes every woman (or girl) fancies him, because why wouldn’t they? Herein lies the problem.

Heather walks into the coffee shop he works in with her parents, and Michael would lead you to believe it was a fatalistic coup de foudre, a destined meeting of souls which had been foretold before the beginning of time. In reality, it’s a fourteen year old out with her mum and dad, being served by a self-absorbed pervert.

And this is really interesting, as McKay uses the narrator’s voice as a justifier, showing us his feelings and letting us into his mind. He’s overwhelmed by this girl, and there’s very little in his thought processes which tells him his actions and feelings are wrong. Living the story in this way is confusing and fascinating in equal measure - in parts, due to Michael’s commentary, I completely forgot I was disgusted.

Of course, things escalate, and disgust is the only thing you will feel. At times the plot felt so far-fetched that I was convinced we were in the narrator’s dream or fantasy, and the only interaction he’d had with Heather was the ordering of a hot chocolate. Michael tells us frequently that this account will not include any details of his past life, so fantasy could still be the case, god knows I’d feel better if it was simply a daydream. My mind has been plagued with questions for the four days since I finished the novel.

Reading this feels like something forbidden, and it feels wrong. Although we know this shit happens all the time, none of us are comfortable talking about it. McKay has lifted the stone to show you the worms underneath, and although it’s horrific and unsettling, there’s something utterly intriguing and transfixing about it too.

I’ll be thinking about this one for a long while to come.