little scratch: Intense, visceral novel pushes the boundaries

Book review: Rebecca Watson’s inventive debut makes for a compelling read

Rebecca Watson: inventive style and linguistic flair

Rebecca Watson: inventive style and linguistic flair

If good writing has the capacity to make the reader feel something, then Rebecca Watson’s debut novel certainly deserves to be praised. The reading experience is intense and visceral – through Watson’s inventive style and linguistic flair the reader may literally find themselves fighting the itch along with the book’s unnamed narrator, who goes about her day attempting not to scratch her body, or to at least ration the number of scratches she inflicts on herself.

Throughout little scratch, we can feel her desperation to self-harm, an impulse that initially seems to come directly from her body, not her rational mind. From the moment she wakes, to the monotonous hours of her day job as an assistant in a media company, to a night out on the town with her boyfriend, “my him”, the urge to scratch is always with her, “a fingernail’s gap pulling my tights down, letting my hands, flat, reach down to my ankles and up, behind my knees … sliding across the danger zone”.

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