A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth (2009)

“After the van had been loaded and sent on its way I took off all my clothes and kicked the sofa I was about to abandon. Not just a little kick either. I really belted it.
That bloody sofa! Hairy, brownly, uncomfortable, smelling of damp: the pile on the armrests was clogged flat, shiny with filth Naked, my twenties nearly gone, and all I could think to do with myself was kick the settee.”

Annie is starting a new life in a new neighbourhood. She is in her late twenties and morbidly obese, and has just ended her marriage to Will. She is all set to be on the best of terms with her new neighbours, and reads plenty of self-improvement books in order to fulfil her dreams. She also falls for her next-door neighbour, Neil, and is convinced he is the one who saved her when she was in a bit of trouble a while back. The only problem is his much younger and prettier girlfriend, Lucy, who hates Annie.

Annie got all my sympathy in the beginning, then slowly I realised that she was more than just a bit mad. But the madness uncovers in pieces, as it’s Annie’s narrative written as a file, and it’s the remarks from her neighbours that make it plain that Annie is not all right. And then both the nightmares from Annie’s past and present unfold.

Great book!

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