My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They're not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I'm supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs. But there are things I won't say. I won't tell them I'm going to hunt for my real parents. I don't say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.
I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he'd give me a medal for lying. I wasn't lying. I'm a hunter for lost souls and I'm going to be with my real family. And I'm not going to let Mick stop me.
About the Author
Kate Hamer grew up in Pembrokeshire and has recently been awarded a Literature Wales bursary. Her bestselling novel The Girl in the Red Coat was a no 3. Sunday Times bestseller and shortlisted for the Costa First Book award. This is her second novel.
Review by Bronwyn Eley
Heart-wrenching. That’s what The Doll Funeral is. Heart-wrenching.
I’m not sure what to do with this sad, hollow, residual feeling that’s come from reading this book, but I know I’ll remember the power of this novel from Kate Hamer long into the future.
Thirteen-year-old Ruby is an engaging character, and from the moment her adoptive father's fist first came down on her, I was fuming and rooting for this brave young girl to escape and find her real parents.
Hamer’s language is enticing, bringing a unique view into the world. Through Ruby’s singular experiences, I found myself blissfully confused, as if my understanding was shrouded in an eerie mist. Everything was uncertain - from her unconventional past to the unearthly Shadow character that followed her around, seemingly her only friend, until she meets Tom, Elizabeth and Crispin - siblings abandoned by their aloof parents.
The passages with the siblings were the strongest emotional scenes for me. A strange mixture of fear and sympathy flooded off the pages, and as an adult not long out of childhood, I desperately wished for someone, anyone, to take care of them.
Hamer managed to render extremely inconceivable situations intensely familiar, as if I were Ruby or Tom or Elizabeth. If you’re looking for a highly engrossing story that will really make you feel, then The Doll Funeral is for you.
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 29th March 2017
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.5