Toxic Nursery is a semi-autobiographical novel by author and illustrator Carlie Martece. The book explores the human personality using personal accounts and blending them into a seemingly twisted melange of stories, observation and sarcasm.
Toxic Nursery is available from Amazon at £8.56 (£3.14 on Kindle) or if you frequent steampunk markets, you could pay the author directly. Carlie trades as part of the Traders of the Floating Market Guild.
Even after reading the first two chapters, I began wondering really whether I should continue with Toxic Nursery. However, this isn’t because the book is unworthy of reading. In fact, the book is extremely well executed. The sheer amount of honesty that pours from the pages left me staggered and bewildered. Martece has a style of writing that is as creative and descriptive as her art work. I was actually traumatised by the end of chapter one that I considered not going on and simply appraising the book from what I had read already.
The book seems to cover Martece’s life – or at least pockets of it – with chapter two seemingly covering areas of her as a young girl growing up and having to deal with issues that would bewilder an adult.
Much of the story revolves around characters that exist within the author’s head. However, these don’t come across as imaginary friends or story characters but nearer to alternative personalities that could control their “host” or “physical vessel” to use the book’s less personal description. Interestingly, by using a disconnected, less personal description of herself, she manages to distance herself from the parts of the story that are about the personalities. As though she’s the landscape; you know it’s there, but don’t pay any attention to it.
Reading the book left me with a burning question: Which parts are real and which parts are made up? From time to time, it’s seemingly more obvious than other points, but even then I can’t be too sure.
My favourite line from the book comes early on: “They add fluoride to toothpaste to calcify our third eye.” This line is a shining example of the humour that pours out. This being a semi-autobiography, it could be a true quote or a made up one. If it’s true, it just goes to show the kind of people she had to grow up with and the way her brain works to retain that particular snippet of “wisdom”. If it’s made up, then Martece is a very funny writer.
The book never loses it’s pace in story telling, bleakness and sarcasm. In fact, it’s incredible to think that all the way through I was feeling sorry for the protagonist while laughing at some of the text. Still, that’s what Martece wants from the reader and so she has managed to create a marvellous blend of those elements.
The way that Martece describes each scene is nothing short of stunning. I’ve not read a book yet that can conjure up images in my head with the amount of detail that she does. The brief describes the book as a deranged roller-coaster. Words such as psychological, vicious, bleak and cynicism are also used. The word I continually thought of was brutal.
It’s brutally honest and brutally open. It’s also incredibly funny. If you’re a fan of intensely dark sarcasm, you’ll find that this book will have you laughing out loud.
While Toxic Nursery isn’t a steampunk themed book, it falls into the “alternative” realm and Carlie is a regular on the steampunk market circuit. She stands with the rest of the Traders of the Floating Market Guild and can next be seen at Leeds Steampunk Market in March 2015.
You can buy Toxic Nursery from Amazon here: Carlie Martece Amazon page
Or to get a signed copy and give a fairer price to the author, head over to the Carlie Martece Facebook page and contact here directly: Carlie Martece Facebook page