Books

Patricia Wants to Cuddle review: Spine-tingling moments of mystery

Samantha Allen's novel, Patricia Wants to Cuddle, imagines a dating show on a remote island, where sexuality is not all that it seems and something dark is lurking in the forest

Patricia Wants to Cuddle cover

As the weather warms up two things are certain: your social feeds will be filled with bikini beach pictures and Love Island will return for another season. Samantha Allen’s Patricia Wants to Cuddle is the much-needed queer antidote to the heat-induced fever of summer. Her debut novel follows the final contestants of The Catch – a The Bachelor-coded dating show – as they head to a remote island to film the final episodes. But there is an expected guest. Someone or something is catching the contestants’ eye through the forest. Is it another bachelor, is it an ape? No, it’s…

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The novel flits between the perspectives of the four remaining contestants, their diligent producer and the message boards of viewers. Most aren’t sure how this season of The Catch will end, all of them can’t figure out why the beautiful island that should be a popular destination is hauntingly deserted. Some of the contestants are certain they’ll win; others are more concerned with their public image and making sure that they get enough content for their socials. But Renee the token black contestant, isn’t even sure she likes men.

With a light smattering of gore and spine-tingling moments of mystery, readers will gleefully follow Renee as she tries to uncover what she’s seen in the distance and realise her sexuality. Allen’s sarcastic, witty debut invites you to question the values of our modern world and asks you to look past its trivialities. Offered a glimpse at something different, a natural sighting that allows us some much-needed perspective, some are horrified at the sight of this gift, while others find it awe-inspiring. What’s lurking in the woods might be scary, but Allen posits that compulsive heterosexuality is what’s truly terrifying. 

Billie Walker is a freelance writer

Patricia wants to Cuddle cover

Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen is out now (Faber & Faber, £8.99). You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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