Thursday 10 April 2014

Review on Mr Locke's Diary

Jane Keyes, a young house maid discovers that her master, Mr Locke seems to have gone missing. She is forced to pose as a gentleman in order to save the house from bailiffs, but in the process she finds she has a taste for the new found freedoms of being a young man. She discovers a dark world of seedy drinking establishments, violence and pornography. Once through the looking glass, she can never turn back.
Her freedom is short lived after her secret is discovered, and she is locked away in the asylum for insane young ladies where her luck only deteriorates. Delusions trap her in a world made of metal, filled with soulless workers loading trolleys with boxes, where you are condemned to eternal punishment to survive in boredom. There is a box, just one will lead you out of this place. Will she choose to exist in this place forever or take the risk of leaving? We all have an ending, we just don't know which it will be until it is too late.

I will admit that when I first started reading this book, I was not too keen on it. My first impression of the protagonist was that she was rather silly, as she tries to pose as her employer, Mr Locke mere moments after the bailiff has seen her as a woman. Although I found this humorous, I did not understand the reason why she thought this could possibly work. There were certain aspects of the story that had me slightly confused, for example Jane says that her literary skills are poor, but then goes on to say that she has read Great Expectations, a book that, from personal experience, I would say would not be something that someone with a low literary level would be able to read and fully comprehend. Jane goes on a journey disguised as a gentleman in an attempt to find her employer, discovering along the way what it is like to be a man in 19th century London. I found her experiences interesting, as she realizes that she has far more freedom as a gentleman than she would ever have as a woman. However, she is horrified at some of the things Mr Locke has been participating in, and there are a few violent scenes against women which could be upsetting for some readers. As women were often treated as items rather than people during this time period, I felt that this was an important subject to touch upon even if it is potentially upsetting.

The turnaround point in this book for me however was once Jane had started to have delusions, and seemed to be trapped inside her own head. There were elements of fantasy in this part, and as fantasy is my favourite genre, I enjoyed the last part of the book the most. I loved the idea of everyone having their own box, and opening it would decide their fate. This part of the novella was both fascinating and terrifying, especially during one particularly violent scene. One problem that I had with the book, which is no fault of the author, was that I found quite a few grammar mistakes. This would be understandable had it been an ARC copy, but as the copy I received was the final copy, I felt this would be a problem for readers in general, as although the story is enjoyable overall, I found myself having to read sentences a few times before I understood what it was trying to say. Therefore I think a review of the book and a release of a second edition would be a good idea, as it seems slightly unprofessional as it stands now. However I recommend the book overall, if mostly because of the second half. It is a quick read and perfect for those who enjoy reading but have difficulty in finding the time to read full length novels.

For UK readers, Mr Locke's Diary is available to purchase HERE

For those of you in the US, it is available HERE

For more information, visit author Joseph Clark's personal blog

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