Amy Burns – Leaving Is My Colour (4 stars)

Amy Burns – Leaving Is My Colour

Honest and occasionally hilarious novel about a recovering drug addict

'I first realised I loved Jack the day he drowned,' begins Amy Burns' novel, setting the reader up for a wistful tale on the pitfalls of a modern, melancholic romance. Don't buy into it. There's nothing romantic about this darkly witty road trip through the bumpy highway of a young woman's mind. Instead, it's about the anti-romance of reconciling life and love, finding your place in an imperfect family, and the way our flaws are exposed and exploited by the people closest to us.

Burns takes us through the life of Rachel, a serial divorcee and recovering drug addict, with acerbic pragmatism. Her sister never warmed to her because 'she was expecting a puppy'. Her mother tried to poison her father when she suspected an affair. Jack is the love of her life, but actually, Jack's a bit of a douche. He's also married, distant and an imperfect representation of the idyllic life Rachel craves.

If you like novels with linear plots and a neat little ending, this isn't for you. If instead, you want a book that is as honest, fractured and occasionally as hilarious as life itself, Leaving Is My Colour will look good on you.

Out Thu 16 Feb, published by Freight Books.

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