Problems by Jade Sharma (Review by Charlotte Wood)

Rating: 5/5*

‘Behind every crazy woman there is a man siting very quietly, saying, ‘what? I’m not doing anything’

Reading the blurb above, I knew I had to read this debut novel by Jade Sharma.

The book tells the story of Maya, a drug addict, whose marriage is unsurprisingly falling apart, and is also having an affair with her former tutor and failing to finish her thesis for her masters, despite the darkness of heroin addiction the book manages to be funny and compulsively readable.

The synopsis on the back tells us about, cheating on her husband whilst worrying he will leave her, which instantly shows us Maya, she is self-aware yet unaware, a liar but brutally honest. A terrible person I wanted to be friends with.

The book is written in fragments of Mayas thoughts without chapters and follows Maya’s addiction and eventual marital breakdown and escalation into prostitution. A book you think may not be relatable manages to be extremely so as Maya says at the height of her prostitution. “My biggest fear,” Maya says, “is they’ll look at me and think, Oh god, she’s not that hot. Its that voice Sharma says that women constantly have and it’s this honesty rawness and humour and the books other theme of gender politics that enables you to relate to a story you think you might not which is a true testament to the author.

I can see some may read this and feel frustrated with Maya but I didn’t as I knew her honesty and self-awareness would pull her through, and though Maya struggles when she inevitably ends up alone it’s a testament to both Sharma and Maya that she doesn’t have man save her at the end and that its more than okay.

I’ve never read a book like this, if you’re looking for something bold and funny I would recommend you pick this up. I’m extremely glad I did and glad to hear Sharmas next novel is in the pipeline now.

Check it out on Amazon

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