Idle Hands is undoubtedly going to take the Woman’s Literature genre by storm.
Not only is the cover a subtle mix of color and spook (the nails on that shadowed hand certainly provide a curiosity that belays the cheerful colors!) but there is certainly enough story contained in the pages to make anyone sit up and take notice of Cassondra Windwalker.
Idle Hands is a novel about Perdie, an abused wife who has put up with her husband’s emotional and physical violence for too long. When he threatens to bring that same violence to her children, Perdie says no more, and leaves him. But in doing so and the life she leads after, Perdie has to grapple with questions fundamental for any person making life altering decisions: did I do the right thing? what even is the right thing?
The answer, as the novel goes into, is complicated. Oftentimes “right” and “wrong” are arbitrary categories and in reality, all we really have are forkroads and what ifs. However, it’s how we choose to look back on those that can give us both the most pain and the most satisfaction.
A big bright spot in the book is the narration– not of Perdie, which is who you’d assume– but of Ella, the literal devil. In a world where many adult fiction books detail domestic violence, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book who’s narrator was an omniscient devil who loves to wax poetic about human morality. Ella’s perspective, as the story moved forward, provided both a deeper insight to Perdie’s character and the human condition, and some needed levity.
This book is heavy; there is no doubt about that! But it brings to mind so many questions and philosophies to the forefront of our mind; questions of choice and morality, of regret, of satisfaction and content. The book itself seems a little long, especially in the middle, but by the final ¾ of the book, you simply can’t turn the pages fast enough.
The writing is raw, the emotions are raw, and I found myself sitting in silence for a hot minute contemplating the ending and the choice Perdie made. Which I think is exactly what Windwalker was aiming for at her conclusion of the story.
4 of 5.
** Thank you to NetGalley for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.