Are you looking for something different to read? Something fun, acerbic, satirical, that might makes you think about things differently while not realising you’re actually doing it? In that case Kate Bulpitt may have written just the book for you! Purple People is the cautionary tale of what can happen when sneaky governments take matters of national import into their hands (and ONLY their hands) and introduce a ‘zero tolerance’ style regime against those they perceive to be wrong-doers.
Eve is living in New York, working on ‘Say Fantastique’, a digital newspaper that focuses on the sillier, more uplifting side of like. You know the ‘…and finally’ on the news reports – usually someone tight-rope walking between skyscrapers, walking on custard or water-skiing squirrels? Good – you’re in the right ballpark. In a world where everything seems to be awful, and getting worse by the day, uplifting news stories aren’t the worst thing in the world, but Even has a feeling that she isn’t reaching her full potential – whatever that may be.
So when Eve hears from a friend in ‘Blighty’ (this repeated reference to Britain was the only thing that I really didn’t like about this book – it really grated after a while!) that people appear to be randomly turning purple – Eve doesn’t really believe it – but is obviously interested nonetheless…
Very shortly after this information comes her way along with more emerging reports of spreading purpleness, Eve discovers that her Dad is in intensive care after being injured in a pub brawl. She immediately makes arrangements to see him and hops on a plane with a little side of ‘what can I find out about the purple people while I’m here’ rolling about in her mind.
Once back in ‘Blighty’, the news has gotten out and Prime Minister Theo Fletcher is stoking the fire – he’s very proud of his new initiative that will see those committing crimes or behaving in an anti-social way being turned a fetching shade of Lavender. Why should good law abiding people not be able to spot the ‘Lavs’ a mile off – after all they have brought it on themselves? The country is split into those that think it’s an amazing idea and waste no time in mocking the ‘snowflakes’, and those who are horrified at the concept and set about protesting and trying to overturn the ruling. In the midst of all this Eve finds herself opening up a whole can of worms with shady characters that are very reminiscent of a certain government, and finds herself in the middle of a rather big predicament. Not to mention a coupe of purple people.
It’s a an absolute mad ride of a book, described as ‘wonky’ by the writer herself, with some well drawn parallels to what’s going on in the world right now. There’s elements of classism, racism, and it’s all very cleverly tied in so you’re not walloped over the head with it – but it does make you wonder what response you and those around you would have if this was a real thing. Would you be in favour of a plum punishment?
There are a lot of characters in this book so it does take a little while to bed in, but it is worth it – and based on this very impressive debut I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Kate Bulpitt in future!
Thanks to Kate and the Pigeonhole Book Club for letting me read along with them – it was quite a ride!