'Joskus äiti on niin kuin pieni ja Eeva sen äiti. Ja pieni äiti on ärsyttävä eikä halua pukea.'
'Sometimes mum is like small and Eeva its mum. And small mum is annoying and doesn't want to get dressed.'
Rikki ('Broken') is Reija Glad's first novel. It won third prize in a Robustos (the publisher who's published most of Siiri Enoranta's works and other stuff) miniature novel competition in 2015. I got this from the library's new stuff shelf and checked it out on Goodreads, where it has, as I write this, one rating of three stars, a golden middle road. I thought that was quite compelling - what does three mean to this one person? Also, the book is just shy of a hundred pages and I thought I could definitely give it another rating, maybe make the decision easier for someone else. Or something. Also, it sounded cool.
Anyway, this book is very unsettling at its heart. It's divided into short little chapters that each tell their own story of sorts. They're given creepy telltale names like 'Dad's Car', 'Bunny' and 'River'. The book itself is about a family, or more specifically the children of one, who grow up poor, with a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic, absent father. The book is from the point of view of one of the children, though the book never actually tells you which one. I do have my guess.
It's mostly written in short, meaningful sentences. The children witness things no child (or person) should and can't process them properly. Many things in this book are, indeed, broken. Their mother isn't able to take care of the kids because of her own problems, and the children in turn do their best but can't really lead normal and happy childhoods. The family is broken and their home town in Northern Finland seems fairly depressed at best.
This book was sort of disturbing in its desperation, but I like to think it also had tiny little whisps of hope, which are also alluded to in the back cover. I think I'll check out Glad's other works if she publishes more one day. (You can always dream, yes?) My only hope is that for a full length novel, the work would have more happiness as well. For a work of this length however, it worked quite well, even if it does feel like a bit too much sometimes. No one's supposed to live a life like this, though I think that was kind of the point too. I'd recommend this book and I quite enjoyed it, but I feel like it requires a specific sort of mindset so I'll just leave that up to you if you want to check it out. For me, it was absolutely worth the read. I hope more people check it out.
For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 26: A family story! Think the category is looking for a longer story but this was definitely about family so...