The Killjoy by Anne Fine

The Killjoy by Anne Fine

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The Killjoy by Anne Fine

Main characters: Alicia Anna Davie (19 years old) and professor Ian Laidlaw(49 years old)

In a late afternoon seminar in the department of politics of a Scottish university, a student was talking on about an essay that he wrote, and Professor Laidlaw tried to cut him short twice with one of his most characteristic phrases: 'Quite so. Quite so.' On the second time, Laidlaw heard a tiny noise, and he realized that it was one of the other students. Alicia Anna Davie had got the giggles.
Laidlaw decided to ask her a question: 'I'm interested, Alicia, in your opinion of Stuart's point.' (He was a great man for diminutives.). But when he greeted her answer with yet another: 'Quite so. Quite so,' she exploded in an uncontrollable laughter. He stared at her with joy; for the first time in years he knew what it was to be pleased by another person again.
His gratitude was strange, however. After she recovered herself, she smiled at him and he smiled back. Carefully turning towards her, Anna had done her best like everyone else to avoid the scarred side of his face. Laidlaw got that scar because he fought against a big dog years ago. Then he positively underlined his disfigurement, making his eyes rounder than usual, puffing up his bad cheek.
As he claimed later, it was simply his way of cutting short a mood of happiness that he knew couldn't last. But when she cried out that he was a bully and slapped his face so hard that he nearly fell off his chair, he admitted that he deserved it.
A giggle, a fit of laughter, a grin, a slap - such are the beginnings from which a sinister duet starts to take shape. Laidlaw found that he was fascinated by Alicia in spite of himself, and in spite of her ignorance and satisfaction and her grubby ways. He tried to draw back, but then he realized that she was fascinated in her turn, that his ugliness aroused her. She liked his face. That was the root of it.
Then it was time to go home. They both were going home, but Laidlaw decided to follow Alicia. Alicia saw Laidlaw and she thought he was going to rape her or something but that wasn’t the case, so she walked faster and she tripped. All her books fell, but Laidlaw offered to help her.

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Then he said that he would walk her home. When they got to Anna’s house Laidlaw only stayed for awhile and drank some tea. But then he had to go home. Then he wrote a letter to Alicia asking her if she would come by the next day at six o’clock to pick up the check for her spoiled books. So Alicia came by and she was on time. Laidlaw cooked something for them to eat. Anna examined the house and started flirting with Laidlaw. But Laidlaw told her that he was old enough to be her father, but she didn’t care. So they slept together and Laidlaw couldn’t stop her.
Laidlaw thought back about his past with his ex-wife Margaret. He was a virgin before he did it for the first time with Margaret. Alicia better not do anything because he could tell her father about it. Alicia didn’t care, but Laidlaw said it again. And he told her that he couldn’t do it because he was a professor. Then Alicia began to cry.
The next morning Laidlaw made breakfast for them both. That was pretty nice of him she thought. But she didn’t say much that morning. He likes Alicia a lot. He told her that if she wanted to come again, she could come anytime she wanted to. Later that day Alicia went to Laidlaw’s office to ask him if she could bring the cat when she would come that weekend. Laidlaw was relieved, because she was still interested in him. Since that moment they practically lived together. But he didn’t go out with her because he was afraid that people would see him being with a student. One day Laidlaw was thinking that Alicia only liked the cat and the cat is the one that she really liked. Sometimes Laidlaw thought that she was on drugs but he didn’t say anything about it because he thinks it is fine that she didn’t ask much about his life. So he still had some privacy in his life. The next day Alicia went home to Brightmony where here parents lived. Alicia said that maybe she wasn’t going to come back, but Laidlaw believed that she was going to return.
Laidlaw missed Alicia already. At school everybody knew him because of his appointments. He thought about Alicia the whole day and he was thinking that he didn’t know anything about her and didn’t trust her anymore. Even at New Years Eve Alicia didn’t call to tell him how she was doing. Laidlaw decided to go to her house at Ardmory road. He was looking for proof if maybe she was betraying him or something. The only thing that he found was the name Allan Warner. He kept on thinking what they meant to each other. After seven nights Alicia returned.
At school (according to me) Alicia tried to make Laidlaw jealous by hanging out with a boy called Scott Wattson.
The cat, Brightmony (the name of where she lived), suddenly got sick and Alicia got too worried about it. Alicia and Laidlaw ignored each other a little bit and because of that Alicia cried. Then Laidlaw built up the love again his way. The fascinated thing about it was that they both enjoyed it.
Laidlaw always asked Alicia to tell her about her family, but Alicia always refused, but then Laidlaw hurt her if she didn’t tell him anything so she finally told him about her family.
At school he had to go to a meeting. And later he went home and found out that Alicia was interested in him anymore. And he began to think about his childhood. Back then he was a lonely kid and he had a bicycle that he rode everywhere with. Alicia wanted to make a camouflage for Laidlaw’s scar and he said that she had to put it on herself. And she did, but she had to get it off again because Laidlaw thought it was nothing.
When Laidlaw woke up one morning he realized that he was that much interested in Alicia. So he wanted her off his bed as soon as possible. And when he did that he could finally feel like a free man again.
So he waits ‘till Alicia finish showering and when she came back Laidlaw aggressively tied her to the bed. He did that also because he was mad. Alicia was confused and asked why he was doing all this. Laidlaw didn’t like her anymore and he hit her a few times. Alicia kept talking and asking questions so he hit her a few times more. But she didn’t stop. So Laidlaw decided to leave her alone. He went out and bought a newspaper and was thinking how it was to be free again and also that Alicia was still tied up in his bed. He went to buy a drink in a café and felt sorry for Alicia and went home as fast as he could. He was saying that everything had to come out well.
When he arrived at home he went to Alicia and began talking with her but Alicia didn’t want to listen to him. Alicia herself began to yell at him and so. But he couldn’t take it anymore so he took a pillow and put it over her face and after a few seconds she suffocated. Laidlaw had murdered her. Laidlaw was thinking that it was an accident because it was impossible for her to suffocate in just a few seconds. But she was already dead. Laidlaw went to his office at the university and began writing letters to Alicia’s parents and his Ex-wife. He spent the next few days cleaning his house. But the smell would eventually go trough and people would smell.
He then went to his office again and stared out the window thinking.

The most important happenings:
-is when Laidlaw and Alicia fall for each other.
-and when they made love.
-and at the end when Laidlaw killed Alicia.

Explanation of the title:
This book is called the killjoy, because in the story Laidlaw kills Alicia and he actually enjoys doing it. He first tortures her and then he kills her. But I’m not sure if it was his intentions to do so.

My opinion:
I liked this book, because the story was so interesting it kept me reading it and it wasn’t so hard to understand it. Although in the beginning it was a little bit boring. The most exciting part was almost the end. This book is not one of my favourites but it was still good.
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