Published July 14, 2020
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About Being Toffee
One is trying to forget. The other is trying to remember.
After running away from an abusive home, Allison finds herself taking shelter in a shed behind an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty after all; an elderly woman named Marla, who suffers from dementia, lives there. And rather than turn her away, Marla welcomes her – she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past named Toffee.
Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be, so she decides to play along. But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real companion, Allison begins to waver. They both deserve a home, a safe place, and a family – but at what cost?
Wow. It’s amazing to me that this novel in poetry hits so hard emotionally in far fewer words than a narrative novel. Like, a good writer always gets you hooked on their characters, right? But this… like, I’d read 100 words and feel my heart breaking, or my blood boiling with anger, or I’d be overwhelmed with the tenderness of the scene.
Like my whole review could be summarized to say: I felt things.
Honestly, this book is such an emotional ride. I loved Allie and Marla both in all their flaws and brokenness. I hated every time someone took advantage of or hurt them.
But I loved how they healed each other in these incremental ways, and how they found ways to be friends around and through the broken places in their lives. I loved that.
The story has some tough content in it, so please read with care. I’ve listed trigger warnings below under violent content. Allie also is befriended by someone who takes advantage of her– not physically or sexually, but emotionally, and that got kind of gross, too, so be aware if that’s something you’re sensitive to.
One the whole, I still feel blown away by this book. I’ve read others by Crossan before, but this one hit me hardest by far.
See my reviews for:
WE COME APART by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
All characters are Irish. (Takes place in Ireland.)
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used fairly frequently.
Violent Content – TRIGGER WARNING
Multiple graphic descriptions of domestic violence and abuse and emotional trauma.
Smoking pot. Drinking alcohol.
Note: I received a free copy of BEING TOFFEE in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.