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The Second Cup: Can someone else steal your suicide? (The Butterfly Effect Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"A truly amazing and well-developed novel that just blew me away with the writer's superior writing skills." - Readers' Favorite
"Emotionally challenging and highly original, The Second Cup proves a powerful debut for Graye and a hard book to put down." - Book Viral
"I couldn't put it down - the story is that enthralling." - Circle Of Books
"For what seems like a relatively simple story, there were a lot of insights into mental health, self-confidence and the insecurities people have in everyday life." - Online Book Club
From the Author
Shortly after The Second Cup was published, I had a breakdown and have since been diagnosed with ADHD. I realised I'd accidentally given one of my characters the same condition, and I wanted to give her the chance to get a diagnosis too.
I have dedicated the extended edition of my novel to Dr Helen Read, the psychiatrist who diagnosed me.
- Publication date : February 12, 2018
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Vociferate Press (February 12, 2018)
- ASIN : B079SFFLWQ
- File size : 1479 KB
- Print length : 320 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,825 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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First and foremost, the book needs a big edit. There were words misspelled, words misused, and added words that made sentences confusing. For instance, “…he joked his she had caused…” (pg. 8) is very unclear. Another one that confused me was “I bin the cold…” (pg. 71). Then there was ” I feet instantly guilty…” (pg. 77); “feet” should be “feel”. There was repetition on page 214, “…didn’t want didn’t want…” Overall, another couple of rounds of editing here would be beneficial.
Then, the writing style in general was fairly choppy. Though I understood that the author was trying to share the past and present of four different characters to perhaps give them more substance; however, there was no good flow when transitioning from said past to present. Then, there was also alternating first point-of-view (POV) and third person. All of this ended being too much for this story. There were times when it seemed that the first to third POV were both in the present, but instead of making it first person, it was told from a third party. With all the switching, it made the story more of a chore than a pleasure. However, the major problem with the writing style is that all four characters had the same voice; so much so that it was difficult to keep the names straight with the characters’ respective storyline; they all blended together.
When considering the plot, it was somewhat unclear what the author was going for. Yes, the death of Jack is what caused the story to happen, but I didn’t feel there was a climax or a big resolution. Sure, relationships that needed breaking were broken and those that wanted to be rekindled did, but there was something lacking in the excitement factor. Perhaps it was the fact that there were several questions left unanswered. Without giving too much away, when one character ended up in the hospital due to the news of Jack’s passing, it was very unclear why she had such a traumatic experience considering she never really knew him. Then, there were sections that the author almost threw in about tea to try to tie in with the title, but these seemed out of place and added to the choppiness.
Lastly, the characters themselves. There was some information given for the four protagonists, but for me, not enough to make me care about them. In fact, Faye, Jack’s ex-girlfriend, was at times hard to sympathize with. In one scene, she seemed too judgmental of a friend’s drinking Starbucks and wearing a suit…did that confuse you? Yup, me too. What does wearing a suit have anything to do with coffee preferences?
Overall, I feel the general premise of the book is a good one and it could have been a great read. However, due to the editing, plot, and character development, I cannot give it a higher rating and would not recommend this to anyone.
In the beginning it was hard for me to follow the storyline and it felt as if it lacked flow, but after few chapters you will get the hang of it. The writer has a very creative way of writing and will keep you going if you admire the ‘art of writing’ when reading a book. This book is for those who like stories related to human struggles and emotions in day to day life.
Regards the characters, as others have mentioned there are a stack of point-of-view characters and initially it’s easy to be a little hazy over who is who. Certainly after a while, we come to know each of them and their foibles in an intimate fashion, ranging from their trials and tribulations of the present hour, to things that happened in their childhoods to set them on their respective paths — and this latter not in a played-out overblown Freudian fashion, but in each case just small nudges here and there that shaped the development and personality to come.
The quality of the writing itself is great, and if I have any criticism at all, then it is that the tone from each of the characters’ perspectives is quite similar; this is part of what makes it initially difficult to keep them separate.
In terms of research, I do tend to notice when something is not as described, and in this case the greatest hitch I could note is that a character “files for divorce” in a prompt and unilateral fashion; in the UK one doesn’t file for divorce, one petitions, and the Government has a very narrow view of what constitutes acceptable reasons, and in the situation in the book, it’s clear that no such reason could apply at that juncture. I suppose this could be justified if we imagine that she simply filled in the petition form incorrectly and sent it to the appropriate court, imagining this to constitute “filing”. In any case, it is a truly minor issue, and if anything, my referencing it as the greatest research failure I could find highlights the quality of the rest of the book in that regard.
All in all, a well-written and highly recommendable story thoughtfully woven around a grim topic.
Top reviews from other countries
An emotive story following four girls - four friends; Faye, Abbie, Beth and Olivia.
For me, the story was really jumpy and difficult to stick with, flitting between the various angles and aspects to the story...very “confused”, a lot like the characters at points.
Having said that, the story highlighted some really pertinent aspects to mental health and the issues women face in our modern society and I must praise the author for this. Opening the dialogue for not only suicide, but other medical ailments (from ADHD to life-limiting heart conditions).
I stuck with this story and sadly never fully got into it. I think the character interviews at the very end were, for me, the most insightful and made me really appreciate each of the characters on their own merit. But like much of the story, I think I was left with more questions than answers. Overall, not an awful story, but not what I expected. I wanted to love it, but just didn’t sadly “get” it.
Four women – very different – but each one carries a weight of loneliness, anxiety, insecurity heavy enough to crush her. Knowingly or not, it is their friendships with each other that give them the strength and clarity to bear their loads, but not one of them feels confidence in those friendships enough to let their masks slip… until they have no choice.
The Second Cup is less about friendship and more about the individual struggle between public and private self, and whether (even with friends) we feel able to move from one to the other. Each of the four women has their own coping mechanisms, from alcohol to rituals or dares, to putting aside one’s own needs to live for others. These strategies allow them to cope with unsatisfactory jobs and unhealthy relationships, but the story shows the possibility of growth if we can let go of the short-term fixes to reach for a happier life.
Not just about life lessons, The Second Cup also contains mysteries: what really happened between Jack and Faye? What happened to Jack afterwards? Why was Beth so stricken by the loss of a stranger? What paths led each of these women to their current circumstances, and can they change them for the better? By flicking between first-person narratives of each character, interspersed with the occasional third-person narrative observation; and by following a non-linear timeline that criss-crosses back and forth across the main plotline, the author is able to mislead the reader into ‘believing’ the character’s perceptions even when we ‘know’ them to be mistaken. This creates some lovely moments of tension and reveal that place the reader as a fifth friend trying to follow the events as they swoop in and out of control.
I found the ending, the big Jack reveal, a little unsatisfactory and abrupt after such a delicately nuanced build-up. I would have liked a little more of the character’s distinct voice and thought processes, having enjoyed those details with the other characters. However I do appreciate that Jack is not really a ‘character’ so much as a catalyst for the growth and change in the lives his death has touched.
Conversely I really liked the character interviews after the end, which very satisfactorily answered the perpetual question: but what happened next?! I was fascinated to see the after-effects and whether the changes had ‘stuck’, much like a follow-up episode of a makeover series!
If you are looking for a thoughtful and fascinating woman-centric exploration of Outsider Syndrome as it affects every one of us on our solo journey through the world, then The Second Cup is a sensitive and entertaining read.
For Beth, swinging her feet is an attempt to stay in the moment. Staying in the moment stops her coming back down to earth with such a bump that she bruises her coccyx and her bones and teeth rattle. But even if Beth stays in the moment at the time, afterwards there’s a longing for something to fill the space the adventure leaves. During an adventure, she can carry an atlas stone in each hand and pull a 5-ton truck with her little finger. Afterwards she’s a dead moth’s wing, all dried up, crumbling to a whisper.
– Sarah Marie Graye, The Second Cup
Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
Each chapter is written from a different character’s point of view, at first I struggled to connect to the writing however I stuck with it. As a result the more I read, the more I fell in love with Sarah’s writing style. Each character has their own distinctive voice and Sarah has done brilliantly to create four completely different people.
Each of the characters have their own struggles and battles that they are going through, there will be something that each reader can relate to. Sarah has written this book with extreme passion and care which you can really feel coming through the writing. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters however I did enjoy reading about them and their lives.
Now you’ll have noticed I haven’t said anything about the actual plot line, I found the less I knew about this book before going in the better. I had a brief glance at the blurb but it was only due to reading some reviews a few months ago that I wanted to read it. I knew it was about a suicide but to me the book is so much more than that. Yes there is a suicide in the book but I found it was more about how each of the characters reacted to this event and what happened after. This is the type of book that will get each reader thinking and everyone will read into it differently.
Sarah’s writing was fabulous but like I said before I did struggle at the beginning. Once I got used to it the pages just flew by as I was hooked. We have real life issues explored in this book by some characters that I could see as real people. I loved the flashbacks to events in the past and the exploration of how everyone became friends.
The Second Cup is a fascinating, thought-provoking read that will pull at your heart-strings. I’m excited to see what Sarah will write next.
What struck me first about the book is that it focuses on a group of women – obviously men play a large part in their stories, but the voices are theirs and the relationships among the group are those which any woman with a small circle of friends will recognise. Each member of the group fulfills a unique role – be it caregiver, or the one who needs extra handling, but the dynamics are interesting throughout and it’s revelatory to see just how each responds in a time of crisis.
For a book with that strapline, it’s clear that there is a spotlight on the mental health of the characters but, most likely due to the author’s own diagnosis of depression, it is handled with sensitivity and a great level of understanding. Never mawkish or sensationalised, depression is addressed as a part of life and never put into the terms we very often hear of it being a battle to be won or lost.
Although a tragic events weave through the story, I look on this book very much more as a character-led piece – it is the characters’ reactions to situations that provide the drama, rather than the events themselves and as the book progresses and we see positive change among the group, it’s really heartening.
I always say that ‘enjoy’ is the wrong word when reading books that address important subjects but, while there are some sections that are hard to read, there is much to enjoy in the book. Beth’s character for instance was a great character to read and proof in a way that we can never really know what is going on inside a person’s head.
I would definitely recommend The Second Cup as, as I have said, you will struggle to find a book with such a strong group of women that so sensitively addresses mental health issues.