Monday, March 14, 2011

Sugar & Spice by Saffina Desforges .

A child's severed arm is found by 2 boys playing along the canal in Southall. Sugar & Spice is a full length crime thriller and is only available as a 508 KB text file for the Amazon Kindle. Sugar & Spice was written in 2010 and is really two books in one.

Sugar & Spice is a complete novel in the crime thriller genre but includes within it a detailed anthropology of paedophilia. A tremendous amount of research has gone into this book and you learn about paedophilia through the dialogue between the characters in this story. For example when Thomas Bristow is talking to Claire...

“I see the doubt in your eyes, but the figures speak for themselves. In the Philippines alone there are estimated to be at least sixty-thousand child prostitutes. It's a similar story throughout the poorer countries of Asia and Latin America, and to a lesser extent even in the developed countries, in North America and in Europe. Eastern Europe especially. Yes, of course they're motivated by poverty, just like the adult sex-trade. But the trade can only exist because there is demand. Men, and women, travel from all over the world to take advantage of the service these children provide. Can so many people be wrong?”

...As well as a world of detail about paedophilia this book also explains in great detail the work of criminal profilers, psychotherapists, social workers and police officers. This story deals greatly with how people think and the desires of paedophiles. For example as ...

Though a competent swimmer he never ventured into the water once during the three hours he spent there. He stripped to his trunks, spread out a towel and lay out on the window seat to enjoy the view, watching the little girls run past from the lagoon pool to the surfing pool, wet costumes clinging to young bodies. It was an enjoyable afternoon spent building up an appetite for delights yet to come.

...But there is nothing to make the reader feel uncomfortable. The most extreme section is probably...

When he put on his Tom Jones accent and said he'd like her to join him for the optional evening meal she was in seventh heaven. When he took to the upright piano in the guest's lounge after dinner and ran off a passable rendition of Delilah, followed by Green, Green Grass she almost wet herself. The other guests applauded loudly, adults and children alike. The little girl from Manchester sat on his lap, her parents looking on, delighted with the free entertainment. “You should be on the stage,” they said, oblivious to his hand beneath their daughter's dress. The child too excited to notice, too young to think anything of it if she had.

...This book is not a challenge to read. The writing is very clear and there is plenty going on with a busy plot line. This story deals with people's prejudices and how easy it is to jump to certain conclusions, especially to fit someone up for a crime...

“You used to have your own ice-cream van. Mr. Whippy, wasn't it?”
“Yes, but it didn’t work out.”
“Just a front to get close to little kiddies, wasn’t it? How did it work? Show us your knickers, little girl, and I’ll let you play with my ninety-nine?”

...You will read many warning bells and jump to the wrong conclusion, just like in real life. I identified the wrong person as Uncle Tom, the killer, as I was only 35% through the story!

The psychotherapist Ruth Reynolds leads the reader through the concepts of paedophilia as she talks to Greg...

“There are people out there who genuinely believe that sex with children is harmless fun and should be legalised.”
“You’ve heard of the Paedophile Information Exchange, surely?”
“Sort of. But it’s defunct now, isn’t it?”
“Officially, yes. It’s a legally proscribed organisation, but banning something doesn’t make the problem go away. I can assure you its members are still out there. Not just here, but worldwide. Have you ever heard of the Rene Guyon Society?” “Never.”
“The original American Pie. They advocate the legalisation of what they call trans-generational sex. Their motto might appeal to you, Greg.”
Randall popped his head round the screen inquisitively.
“What is it?” Reynolds smiled at him. “Sex before eight, or else it’s too late.”

...It is not all about sex crimes though, there is some mild humour in the dialogue stringing this story along. For example as one sex offender is talking to Claire...

“So what brought you to Milton Keynes?”
“Came to see the concrete cows one day and couldn’t find my way out.” He grinned. “Work, what else? No one comes here by choice! No, seriously, it's a great place, despite all the jokes. It's only a few years back unemployment was unheard of round here."

...There is a dramatic ending to this novel and then Ruth tries to explain to Claire...

“When you see the screaming masses outside a Court when a paedophile is on trial do you think they care one jot about the victim? Of course not. All they're worried about is their own kids, just as they worry about their own house or car. About their own personal property. They scream and shout about child abuse, but in the next breath they're at home smacking their own little brats, making them breathe their cigarette smoke, feeding them junk food, palming them off on the cheapest babysitter they can find while they go out on the town.”

...So there you have it. I think that Sugar & Spice is an entertaining book to read, a book that not only entertains but also informs the reader about issues that are alien to them. I will vote this book the maximum 5 stars on Goodreads because I enjoyed reading it so much and there is nothing wrong with it. The price of Sugar & Spice on the Amazon Kindle is a surprising 71p. Do not be put off by this bargain price, it would be worth a cover price of £7.99 if it was published in paperback. This is a very good novel, so count me in for Saffina's next novel called Snow White, when it is released later this year.

I took 3 things away from Sugar & Spice.

1: An understanding of paedophilia

2: Do not jump to conclusions about people

3: Never judge a book by it's cover price
Dont we all know the old fart has got a kindle!!!!!!! Couldnt you have possibly put any more of the book in yur review!!
I could have included a lot more clippings in my review but I aimed to write a concise blog post. I hope that by using those quotes I illustrated how this novel gave a anthropology of paedophilia through the dialogue between the characters.

My Kindle is simply a joy to use. I plugged the USB cable into this desktop computer yesterday and WHOOSH!!! I sent text in both directions like a professional journalist. It is wonderful to be able to carry so many words all around our country, like having a library in your pocket.
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