Care Less by Kirsty Capes
I beseech everyone to read this book. It made me breathless with moments of insight & sheer heartbreak. It made me stop reading so that I could squeeze my kids tight.
Truthfully, Careless snuck up on me. You are presented with pregnant Bess, who is in permanent care with a family. Initially a surface, YA style easy read, 50 pages in I didn’t get it. Then Bess begins to bare her soul & I was hooked, emotionally invested.
She just wants to be loved. You can hear the ringing voice of a teen obsessing over a crush, whilst you think about social care, parenting, family, love & bodily autonomy. There are moments of striking vulnerability that broke my heart. It isn’t heavy throughout & there are passages of hilarity but I just wanted to hug Bess & cook for her (Jewish mother reporting for duty).
The author has been through the care system & lord does it show, feeling so real, relatable & authentic it almost shouldn’t be called fiction. Capes portrays the complexities of growing up in care with such delicacy and brilliance that this book is an act of public service. At its heart it’s the story of a teenager, the plot and characters don’t get lost in this.
Bess reflects on the transactional nature of her parents caring for her, providing receipts for her expenses to the local council who are her corporate guardians. Powerful sentences have stayed with me, reverberating days later and widening my mind.
There is so much hope through Bess’s connection with her best friend, who is going through her own challenges, facing racism and a pressured engagement. Careless has won huge amounts of praise & was longlisted for the @womensprize & it will appeal to a huge variety of readers.
The lightness of the prose for me is part of the ingenuity, this isn’t a densely written work of high brow literature, but a book with many layers that could mean as much to a younger reader as it will to an older one. With the tenderness of Jacqueline Wilson, this should be mandatory reading for teens, parents, teachers & anyone operating within social care. @kirstycapes.author you have my loyalty.
Ad:PR Copy provided by the lovely publisher
Buy your copy here.