Heather by G.C. McKay - Book Review
I like controversy. The more controversial it gets, the more interesting it is. Marco Brambilla
Transgressive Fiction is controversial. That is its main defining factor summed up into one word. But it's rare to find books, even transgressive fiction stories, that really push the envelope of controversy.
So delicate that you, yourself, have to take a minute to sit back and think long and hard about your own opinion.
Heather by G.C. McKay is so fucking aggressive in the way it backhand smacks you across the face ... and while reading it you kinda want to pull the protagonist straight out of the pages and return the favor.
This is what we need and should want from transgressive fiction:
Difficult questions about real life that need to be addressed from different perspectives.
A loaded word and topic of discussion ... also one that makes an unavoidable appearance in transgressive fiction from time to time.
It's safe to say that we all can agree pedophilia is disgusting and it is one of the few times that castration is a perfectly reasonable punishment.
However, what is so compelling about Heather by G.C. McKay is that the novel jumps straight into the gray area of the matter. What G.C. McKay does in his novel, is not justify pedophilia, but instead, it asks an indirect question:
How consenting is a fourteen-year-old when they become involved in a relationship with an older adult?
Now, I have been a fourteen-year-old girl at one point in my life. Not to mention, my type has always been a few years older than me. To read Heather by G.C. McKay put a hell of a lot of nostalgic thoughts into my head from when I was fourteen ... and when you are a fourteen-year-old girl you think that you are making all of your own decisions and that you are the master of your life so to speak.
Which is bullshit.
You are so naive and trusting at fourteen years old and you want to be an adult so bad that you do adult things. It has nothing to do with maturity or immaturity it has to do with that at fourteen you are closer to being ten years old than you are to being twenty.
This story is about Heather, who is the fourteen-year-old girl that the protagonist Micheal begins an adult relationship.
The story is told from the perspective of Micheal ~ which from the very beginning was interesting to me. Not many writers would tackle telling a story from that point of view. It's risky and opens you up to a lot of judgment if not done correctly. G.C. McKay absolutely nails it.
By telling the story through the eyes of Micheal the reader can quickly get a sense of how the older men who go after little girls justify their actions ... what their thought process is.
G.C. McKay doesn't justify the actions of the protagonist but he does show us how predatory people don't see themselves like that. They see themselves as misunderstood or wronged in some way.
Regardless of whether or not the fourteen-year-old is "consenting" ... that the adult of the situation is the only one responsible. That the adult should have ended it, or not have started the relationship in the first place.
I appreciate that G.C. Mckay's novel doesn't glamorize or condone pedophilia.
And I am in awe of how well he pulled off showing readers the gray area of the subject and how the adult justifies their actions to themselves and to others. This novel is a must-read and, dare I say, it is one of the best I have read in transgressive fiction to date.
Heather by G.C. McKay tells an in-depth story through an un-likely lens. It's an intelligent, extremely thought-provoking read that perfectly grabs the reader's attention without becoming a gimmick or a gross monologue of a fucked individual.
About the Author
G.C. McKay is a writer with a Masters degree in existentially-induced nihilism, a PhD in gazing long enough into the abyss until it gazes back and a Perfect Attendance Certificate in all drinks containing alcohol, including mouthwash.
He enjoys doing an impression of himself whilst reviewing books that'll knock your balls off on his YouTube channel: youtube.com/gcmckay