The Ice Cream Girls – Dorothy Koomson
I’ve read and adored several of Dorothy Koomson’s books and so was quite excited when this one was released. Had I known was it was about, I probably wouldn’t have been quite so excited, but I’d have still grabbed it from the bookshop shelf regardless.
Koomson’s books can be hard to categorise. They’re kind of chick lit, but not. Despite their cute colourful covers, they’re not really light and fluffy. They’re actually pretty dark and deal with some of the more unpleasant facets of human life. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still spectacular and I love them, they’re just not what you’d class as beach reading.
**spoiler alert** The Ice Cream Girls deals with rape, domestic violence, child grooming and murder. So you see, it’s not really chick lit, after all. It certainly won’t make you feel all happy and bubbly at the end. Or at any point, really. That’s not to say it’s not fabulous though, because it is.
It deals with Poppy and Serena, two women who ended up being accused of a terrible crime when they were teenagers. Their faces were all over the papers, and both girls went to trial. Poppy was sentenced with murder, Serena got off. Despite this, Serena’s life was never the same again and she was desperate to get away from her past. Which is why when she met the man she would eventually marry, she never enlightened him about her past and has, to this day, worried that her secret would be revealed and she’d lose everything.
Sadly, this looks set to happen. Wrongly convicted, Poppy has served her sentence and is now a free woman. And she wants to find Serena and get to confess and clear Poppy’s name. Trouble is, Serena didn’t do it. Nor did Poppy. Neither woman believes the other. Both women hate the fact they’re being forced to face up to their past, but unfortunately for them, they’re going to have to if they want to have a future.
Overall, this is a pretty harrowing read. There’s nothing in here that’s light-hearted or feelgood, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d look elsewhere. If, however, you’re looking for a riveting read which ends up being more like a murder mystery, then give The Ice Cream Girls a whirl. It’s really harrowing in places, and I even found myself having to stop midway through some passages, it’s so difficult to digest. But fair play to Koomson, she summed it up wonderfully in the ‘About the Book’ section at the end (don’t skip to it, it’ll probably give the game away) and she’s done a great job of covering such difficult material.
A great, if not cheerful, read.