200 Hours

– by Natasha West


Well, if you know Natasha West‘s writing style, you know that you’ll have yourself another comedy to read about in her latest. This time, “200 Hours,” is a (very) light-hearted romcom, YA style (uni years). Rich girl/poor girl trope, coming out. It was fun to read how these two polar opposites get together whilst trying to complete their 200 hours of community service under the most horrid social worker’s so-called guidance! Julie. Yeh, or as I’d like to call her, Bodybag!!!! Heh, if you’d watched the prison drama, “Bad Girls,” (which churned out me all-time favourite on-screen lesbian couple, Helen & Nikki, mind!) you’ll know who Bodybag was!! So, Julie was essentially Sylvia “Bodybag” Hollamby reincarnate, what with all her sheer nastiness, that bigoted, vindictive, stupid ol’ cow!! Urgh! But that was the most fun part to read in this book!! OMG! The more the community serving lot (“criminals”) wound her up and took the piss, the funnier it was!

Check out this following excerpt (my favourite slapstick scene!) where Bodybag…I mean, Julie, was barking out her instructions at her tormented criminals to do something to fill the hours:

‘You want us to kill rats?’
‘Right, where’s these rats then?’

Nicola put up a hand.
‘What equipment are you giving us?’
‘A hammer and a bucket. Any more questions?’ 

There were not.
Running around the big, dusty attic space, banging hammers around like a collection of pound shop Thors, making a show of trying to bash some little creatures heads in. But blood had, thus far, not been shed. No one in the attic wanted to do this. Still, they couldn’t hold out forever. Blood sacrifice was required. If Julie didn’t get her tribute, god knows what she’d make them do next.
‘OK, I’ve had enough of this slapstick shit! Someone better kill a rat in the next ten minutes, or I’m seriously going to lose it! I’m gonna, I’ll…’ Julie smirked, ‘I’ll put in a petition to get another hundred hours added to everyone’s sentence for lack of effort!’
‘We’ll find one,’
 Abby promised seriously.
‘But if we don’t… my mum…’ Lola muttered.
‘I know,’Abby said seriously, and she began to creep around with much more serious intent, murder in her eyes.

…more slapstick ensued which you’ll need to read to find out! […]

There was a support beam right behind Julie, and she tripped backwards. She landed with an odd squelch. As she sat up, everyone saw a red patch on her back.
‘Why is my back wet?’ Julie asked, dazed.
‘I think you got your rat.’ 
Julie looked behind her. And promptly vomited.

Guffaw! Guffaw!! >D I mean, who in the right mind comes up with killing a rat (poor thing!) with a bloody HAMMER?!?! Honestly! What a twatty, lil’ cow! But what a sweet comeuppance, tho! HA!

Anyway, it was a fun, light, quick read for me, really. Defo a feel-good one that’ll put a smile on your face! It certainly did mine along with some hearty chuckles!

I totally recommend it!

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