The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir – Lesley Allen review

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir Book Cover The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir
Lesley Allen
Bonnier Publishing Fiction Ltd.
April 14, 2016

A stark but uplifting story of bullying and redemption 'If you're a bit of a weirdo you will love Biddy Weir' - Ian Sansom, bestselling author of The Norfolk Mystery Almost too terrified to grip the phone, Biddy Weir calls a daytime television show. The subject is bullying, and Biddy has a story to tell. Abandoned by her mother as a baby, Biddy lives in her own little world, happy to pass her time watching the birds - until Alison Fleming joins her school. Popular and beautiful, but with a dangerous, malevolent streak, Alison quickly secures the admiration of her fellow students. All except one. And Alison doesn't take kindly to people who don't fit her mould . . . A story of abuse and survival, of falling down and of starting again, and of one woman's battle to learn to love herself for who she is, The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir is Lesley Allen's startlingly honest debut novel, perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman and Julie Cohen.

I really liked the look of the blurb for this book by Lesley Allen however I confess initially I found it a little hard to get into. I’m not sure if it was the writing or the very simple narrative of how Biddy Weir became a (the) Bloody Weirdo but it didn’t grab me. However around 10% of the way in that changed and I started to be drawn into Biddy’s unusual (maybe) life. Her mother has left her, her father is an isolated and reserved character and is bringing her up on his own and the children at her school think she is weird. Egged on by one particular individual she is bullied persistently and this is her story.

The writing generally is powerfully understated which actually adds to the often emotional nature of this book for me. Biddy gradually develops as a character and is extremely well written. You ache with her frequently. I found it authentic, compelling and often uneasy reading. In a sense it is just so sad at times however if that is the case then it is because the writing is so effective. You just know that things will go wrong for Biddy and often they do. I did wonder if one of the reasons I felt uncomfortable reading this was because I am male and maybe the main audience would be female. However, if you are male, don’t let it put you off this powerful read. I’d call this a 4.5/5 but I’m happy to round that up in this case – excellent d├ębut tale and I’d really like to read more from this author.

Note – I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review