“And though she be but little, she is fierce.” – Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
As I’ve been blogging and Instagramming, I’ve received a few requests from authors asking me to read and review their books. Until Nia Lucas, sent me a request, I hadn’t been minded to do this, my reading time being precious and I didn’t want to waste it on stories that weren’t my cup of tea. But there was something about her book “Love Punked” that piqued my interest.
Lucas’ style is irreverent and ballsy (chopsy, as she might put it). The humour immediately draws you in and you fall into the world of Erin Roberts, a pocket-rocket of a school girl, wrangling with the daily struggle to stay on the right side of embarrassment in front of classmates with better hair and the incessant teasing wit of adolescent boys. Fumbling her way through those days of underage clubbing and dalliances with lusty young men, an ill-fated horizontal encounter on a lounge chair leaves her pregnant. With twins. And no sign of the young man who replaced her cherry with a pair of little embryos.
Erin shows herself to be a gritty battler, a determined young mum, desperate to do the best for herself and her boys, supported by family and a handful of friends, including one of her oldest classmates, Gio. Overshadowed by Erin’s crush on another boy, Gio’s fondness for Erin is hidden from no one but Erin herself, until Gio steps up to be a brave man when Erin suddenly goes into labour.
With only a quarter of the novel gone at this point, the story could end here, with the tale of two young kids, loving one another and parenting together these two little babies. But no, Lucas has built an obstacle course of hurdles, hoops, walls, chasms, and barbed wire for Erin and Gio to navigate. The struggle for love is real.
I really enjoyed the acerbic dialogue and self-deprecating nature of Erin. She embodies her nickname “Ginger Feist” and, like a mother lion, will defend her cubs and her dear friends with ferocity. Set through mid-90s and into the millennium, Erin and friends are just a couple of years younger than me, and the cultural references cast me back to my own youth, the struggles of school and growing up fast. I wasn’t a teen mum, but there were a couple of girls in my school that got pregnant young but I doubt I would be able to contemplate that experience from their perspective. Erin’s spirit puts you firmly on her side and you will be cheering her on to find her happiness with this book.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read your book, Nia. You created a little whirlwind in Erin.