Born Scared by Kevin Brooks - Book Review

Thursday, September 6, 2018

cover of Born Scared by Kevin Brooks

Elliot is terrified of almost everything.

From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terrors in check are the pills that he takes every day.

It's Christmas Eve, there's a snowstorm and Elliot's medication is almost gone. His mum nips out to collect his prescription. She'll only be 10 minutes - but when she doesn't come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 meters away. It might as well be 400 miles... (Goodreads)

Enslaved by intense fear and anxiety from birth, Elliot spends the majority of his time in his bedroom at home. The only thing that keeps “the beast” living inside him under control is his “anti-fear” pill, and due to a pharmacy mix up he has found himself with only enough to last him 24 hours. Thanks to the addition of a raging snowstorm and it being the day before Christmas Eve, his situation has become exceptionally more desperate and unfortunately for Elliot, things are only going to get worse.

Brooks does a wonderful job portraying Elliot’s fear. In particular, I appreciated how well done the scene involving him leaving the house on his own for the first time was.  The back and forth panic of “I’m going” and “No, I can’t” really hit home for me. As someone who prefers to have more details when a character is suffering from mental illness, I would have liked more information on what was going on with him though. Did he never get a proper diagnosis? It is not something that is super important to the story, just something extra that would have been nice.

I found myself mildly annoyed with how short each “chapter” was. It is the kind of story that goes back and forth between two main perspectives, but the way it was done felt a bit jolting to me. Just when you get used to one point of view and character mindset, it goes back to the other. It also felt like there were far too many unnecessary details. Pretty much everyone who shows up in the story has a first and last name and enough information to give you a little detail about them. We do not need this level of detail for each police officer or each person Elliot runs into. It comes off as filler to me.

*Thanks to Netgalley I received a digital ARC of this book to review.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Book Information: Goodreads

Published: September 8th, 2016

Kevin Brooks: Goodreads, Amazon

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