The Savages are cannibals. There, I said it. It’s best that you know now so you can prepare yourself. The family we’re dealing with just ain’t normal.
Sixteen-year-old Sasha Savage is worried about introducing her first boyfriend, Jack, to the family. You see, he’s the unspeakable: a vegetarian! And what’s worse, he is making Sasha want to flirt with vegetarianism too. Angelica, Sasha’s mother, is trying to be supportive, but she is cautious to keep Sasha’s unfathomable dietary path a secret for a little while longer as Titus and Ivan, Sasha’s father and younger brother, will not be so understanding. And then there’s little Katya, not yet old enough to have tried undervalued delicacy that is seasoned and pan-fried human flesh, and their grandfather, Oleg, who started it all during the war…
Angelica deals with her family’s uncomfortable stance on morality by taking frequent trips to designer boutiques. To pay off her overwhelming credit card bill, she needs to rent out the family’s home for filming. But regrettably for the Savages, a young model, Lulabell, dies in the house, causing private detective Vernon to delve deeper into the family’s lives, and he starts to wonder: Why do they talk about food so much?
You would expect The Savages to be revoltingly humourous, perhaps like those Horrible Histories you read back in school, but it’s actually so much darker than I thought it would be – and even uncomfortable at times! Yet I found myself empathising with Sasha and wondering whether I should perhaps give vegetarianism a try myself, while still being intrigued by Ivan’s seriously sick sense of humour, but then I had to stop myself and think: Hey, no! You cannot like these characters! They’re sadistic, wrong, immoral! They eat people! But it’s so freaking difficult. I found myself negatively judging Vernon even though in a normal story, I’d be rooting for him. The Savages are at the heart of the story and I could not possibly tear myself away from them.
Matt Whyman’s The Savages is brilliantly executed and truly unique. It’s dark humour at its best and I cannot imagine I’ll ever come across a book like it again. I devoured it. Is it wrong that it made me hungry? It’s wrong, isn’t it?
Published: 6th June 2013
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Thank you Hot Key Books for providing this book to review!