BOOK REVIEW: AIN'T WORTH A SHIT by Jack Bantry and Robert Essig


Issy thought she was safe from the mafia after leaving Poland for the UK, and Mark thought he had it made as a small time pot dealer, but both find themselves in over their heads trapped in a human trafficking ring, with no way out.

I'm not sure if I wasn't in the right kind of mood to really appreciate this, or if maybe I just wasn't the right reader for it, but I didn't really connect to this novella. There seemed to be a lack of tension, and the emotional impact that certain scenes should have had simply wasn't there for me (and of course there is always the possibility that the problem is me, not the book).  However, there are elements here that I really appreciated.

Human trafficking is a horrifying subject, and I think it was handled quite well here. It didn't feel exploitive or overly graphic  (though there are some very brutal scenes), and there was a noticeable effort to humanize Issy and make her more than just a victim (although I wish it had been extended to the other woman a bit more, rather than painting Issy as someone more "special" or "pure"). As much as I liked that sections were told from other perspectives, as a whole it did disrupt the flow. Most of the story is viewed through Mark's perspective, and he easily could have been an insufferable protagonist. He does feel sorry for himself an awful lot (it's not undeserved) but he has the awareness to realize and acknowledge that he is far from having the worst of it.

The story certainly has it's merits, it just felt very one note to me, (but I can see it working well for other readers). As for myself, this ain't exactly it, but I'm still interested enough to seek out other works from Essig and Bantry, and I'll be keeping an eye out for what they do next.

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