Marionette is a very different novel to TB Markinson’s first published work, A Woman Lost, but retaining a similar tone of writing. The central character, Paige, is a troubled and bitter teen heading off to college. Paige sees college as an opportunity to escape the controlling life she has led, at the hands of her parents, the wealthy Alexander family. We follow Paige through her struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts and dramatic revelations.
The novel opens with Paige explaining to her readers about her recent attempt to take her life, the guilt she feels for inflicting this pain on her girlfriend, Jess, and her desperate need to escape the pressure of her family. TB Markinson writes very effectively, creating very distinct feeling of complete isolation of both Paige and the reader. Whilst the gravity of Paige’s actions is not ignored, the reader is made to feel surprisingly secure that Paige is now safe, and more importantly, sane. Her therapy sessions with the kind and compassionate Liddy are a crucial insight into her state of mind, bringing the reader and Paige closer together.
The twists and turns of Marionette are well executed, and the novel really picks up pace toward the end with revelations only a very astute reader would have anticipated. Paige’s relationship with those around her is the focus of the novel, and the ever present, yet never appearing, control of her family plays a central role in the plot of Marionette. This is a mature novel, despite the youthfulness of the protagonist, and is written with a great deal of empathy. It is unusual for a character who is so isolated and frustrating to be so appealing to the reader, yet TB Markinson manages this through Paige.
The backdrop of Marionette, a girl heading off to college, is incredibly familiar to many of us. However, this is not a simple coming of age story, the sinister thread throughout the novel makes it compelling reading. A really great easy read, with a well thought out plot!