review: the wrong hand

I honestly don't know how i'm going to review this book properly. I'm so emotionally conflicted, in a good way. I got more emotional when i finished reading and realised that it's based on a real case that happened in 1993. I searched the case up online and was horrified with the details of the murder. But it made me appreciate the book a lot more, because i realised that reading about crime cases will be quite one-sided/biased most of the time. The Wrong Hand by Jane Jago explores the perspective of all sides of the same story, and tries to portray the consequences of it from everyone who was involved. I'm rating this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

We all make mistakes. Moments that change us and the path we are on irrevocably. For Rachel Allen it was the moment that she let her son's hand slip from hers. For Danny Simpson and Graham Harris it was the moment one of them took it. Seven years ago Danny and Graham were just children themselves, angry, marginalized and unguided. That was, until they committed a crime so heinous that three families were left devastated. They were no longer just boys. They were monsters. Released from juvenile detention, it is time for the boys, now men, to start again; new names, new people. But they can never escape who they are or what they did. And their own families, now notorious; the Allens, destroyed with grief; and the country at large have never been able to forget. They will always be running. They will always be hiding. But are some mistakes too large, the ripples to far reaching, to outrun forever?
This is a very serious book. It's also quite dark, with the story centering around the murder of a 3-year-old boy committed by a pair of 11-year-olds. It was incredulous to read about children committing such a horrible crime. It made me question so many things about morality and responsibility. Like for example, to what extent is a parent responsible for their child?

The reason why i felt emotionally conflicted was because of all the different POVs being explored in the story. We get to see the past and present perspective from the two boys, their parents, the parents of the victims, and some other people who were involved as well. It was difficult to completely hate the boys for what they did, because of their regret and fears and their sentence. They both had to be given new identities after spending 7 years in juvenile detention, and had to live careful lives and had to constantly move around over the years.

It was most emotional to read from the perspective of the victim's mother; how it had effected her and her husband. How she would always partly blame herself for diverting her attention from her only son for just a few moments, and how that had changed everything. The perspective from the victim's father was just as sad.

I also really appreciated reading the perspective of the two boys' mothers. Being a psychology student, I've learnt a bit about whether behaviour(in this case, violence) is in one's nature or whether the environment had played a bigger role. How much should a parent be blamed for the way they had raised their child? For the things they had exposed them to? For their negligence, for not being supportive when their child needed them to be?

I did think that some parts of the book had been unnecessary and had made the story a little bit draggy, but other than that i quite enjoyed the honest writing. It did get confusing at times about who's POV it was and which timeframe the chapter was in, so it took a bit of effort to keep up. I don't think the book is very appropriate for younger readers; mostly because of the profanities and some obscene parts. Also, trigger warning for those uncomfortable reading about suicide.

All in all, i'm glad i read this book. I received a copy to be reviewed and can honestly say that it is quite eye opening. If you want to know more about the real case it's based on, you can search "Murder of James Bulger". I think reading the book helps see things from a wider perspective.


  1. Salam kamalia. Can I know how you edited your blog template. Do share jzkk.



Follow me on Instagram!



2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.