From Small Press Picks:
“I never thought I’d be the kind of person who could say things like, ‘Yes, I’ve spent a little time in jail,’ or, ‘If you count second cousins then, yeah, I’ve had sex with a relative.’ I also never thought I’d be married and divorced enough times for it to be financially sensible to invest in a courthouse parking permit. But, there you go.”
So observes Rachel Bennett, early in the witty, wickedly funny novel in which she stars: Leaving Is My Colour, by Amy Burns. As soon becomes clear, divorce and jail—the consequence of feeding a drug addiction—are far from Rachel’s only problems. The root of many of them is her deeply dysfunctional family: her well-meaning but mostly absent father; her selfish, judgmental mother; and her older sister, Julie, a bottomless source of disparagement and hostility.
Burns’s comic touch keeps the story from sinking under the weight of this dysfunction. Referring to her own birth, for example, Rachel observes: “Julie had asked for a puppy and [my parents] brought me home instead. She was put on infant homicide watch after my parents caught her trying to squirt dishwashing detergent up my nose. Our relationship hasn’t improved.”