Review: Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

Author: Liz Nugent
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Released: November 10th, 2020 (originally March 26th, 2020)
Received: Goodreads Giveaway
Warnings: Drugs, abuse, addiction, rape, mental health issues, suicide

4 kitties

I received a copy of Little Cruelties in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Little Cruelties is the newest novel to come from Liz Nugent, famous for Lying in Wait and Skin Deep. It’s one part family drama, and several parts psychological thriller.

This is the story of three brothers, and the trail of little hurts and cruelties they left in their wake. These three men, William, Brian, and Luke, couldn’t have been more different if they had tried. Though each was born close together, and they all grew up in the same household.

William grew up to be a movie producer with a family. Brian a teacher first, then an agent, sometimes even for members of his family. Luke, the baby, went into music, becoming a pop star. All of them are broken in their own way.

“Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin.”

Little Cruelties is perhaps the most accurate title I’ve seen in a long time. The amount of little mean-spirited things one family can do is astounding. This was a harrowing read, thanks to the progressing buildup of actions and pain.

I’ve never read anything by Liz Nugent before, if I’m being completely honest. So I was absolutely blown away by her writing in Little Cruelties. Part of me actually wanted to put the book down and walk away, even if just for a bit.

Not because of the writing – but because of how real it felt. I guess that does make it because of the writing, just not in the way one might expect. It was the writing itself, the way Nugent’s words flowed across the page, that kept me from caving to that temptation.

“Three is an odd number so there had always been two against one, although we all switched sides regularly. Nobody would ever have described us as close.”

Let’s be honest; how can you NOT be curious after a description and intro like that. Three brothers, one coffin. But who lived, and who died? What was the cause of death? These are just a couple of the dozens of questions that crossed my mind early on. All of which paled in comparison to the questions I wondered about over the course of the whole novel.

It’s a book that’ll make you think. It’ll break your heart, put it back together with gum, and then break it again. Yet it’s worth it. Little Cruelties was so human, with each action and portrayal of pain or violence feeling almost…every day. That’s what made it feel so real, and so successful.

This is not a book I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, I can tell you that much. I think it’s safe to say that Liz Nugent is getting added to my ‘automatic TBR list.’

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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