Creepy & Maud by Dianne Touchell
Release Date: October 1st 2012
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Source: Purchased by me
From Goodreads: "Hilarious and heartbreaking, Creepy & Maud charts the relationship between two social misfits, played out in the space between their windows.
Creepy is a boy who watches from the shadows keenly observing and caustically commentating on human folly.
Maud is less certain. A confused girl with a condition that embarrasses her parents and assures her isolation.
Together Creepy and Maud discover something outside their own vulnerability — each other’s. But life is arbitrary; and loving someone doesn’t mean you can save them.
Creepy & Maud is a blackly funny and moving first novel that says; ‘You’re ok to be as screwed up as you think you are and you’re not alone in that.'"
I was lucky enough to go to the book release for Creepy & Maud, not knowing much at all about it at the time. Myself and other Perth book bloggers all went, what a perfect outing for us! We got to hear from Dianne Touchell and also got to meet her afterwards and get our books signed.
Creepy & Maud is really not like any book I have read before. It is concerning, disturbing, realistic, powerful, and so many things all rolled in to one.
Every couple of chapters or so the point of view changes from one character to the other. Creepy and Maud live next door to each other, in an unnamed street in Australia. Both houses are two story and both of their bedrooms are on the top floor facing each other. Windoes pretty well lined up for sneaking peaks in. We find the most out about Maud, through Creepy's observations and we find out the most about Creepy through Maud's observations.
Now they are neighbours and go to school together but as far as I am aware, they never use each others actual names. So I can literally only refer to them as Creepy and Maud. Such a unique way to write a story! You feel strangely close to the characters because by looking through their bedroom windows we get the 'behind closed doors' look at their lifes. But at the same time, not knowing their names and only knowing the majority we do about them through observation, we are distanced. It's such a weird concept, but Dianne Touchell makes it work, and makes it work well.
Maud. One of the more 'popular' girls at school. Not your typical popular girl, she keeps to herself mostly and hides all her feelings. Her dad physically abuses her, and Creepy see's it happen. He can't do anything so instead he writes a quote from one of his books and tapes it to his window for her to read. To let her know that he is there for her and to stay strong. At first Maud finds this incredibly weird, this boy is watching her through her window, has she no privacy? He's seen her at her most vulnerable, yet he still seems intrigued. Creepy see's the effect that her parents have had on her, she has a nasty habit of pulling her hair out when she gets emotionally overwhelemd. It's her coping technique. It may sound weird, (which it is and that's the point), but it happens! One of the guys I went to school with used to sit there and pull his eyelashes out. Maud is seriously damaged goods!
Creepy, I found that though a lot of what I understood about him was through Maud, he was more willing to let us in to his head. Maud was a ver closed book (excuse the pun) kind of character and Creepy was far more open. He gave the reader glimpses into his family life, first hand, rather than just what Maud witnesses. Creepy doesn't know, but he is being watched too, Maud watches him. When he isn't watching her, she is watching him. She loves the way he can get lost in a book, so nerdy and quirky. He cares about her, which is crazy seeing as they have never had a real conversation. She is 'the girl next door.'
Creepy & Maud start to interact with notes taped to their bedroom windows. With everything that is going on in both of their lives, it is a welcome distraction. Maud's Dad beats her and Creepy's Dad has it out for his Mum.
Overall a very disturbing but enjoyable read. The content was deep and meaningful but was all wrapped up in a nice little read! Can't wait to see what Dianne Touchell writes in the future!