A review by ericarobyn
Tell Me I'm Worthless by Alison Rumfitt

dark tense slow-paced


Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt is a horribly bleak story told from various perspectives that are all linked in the darkness of a past that won’t let them go. 

Content Warning:
This is one of the darkest books, centered around fascism and trauma. The author has a wonderful warning at the start. For my full list of content warnings below.

Three years after a traumatic event in an old house, two individuals struggle with trying to overcome the past. Spirilng, rather than healing, they soon realize there’s only one way out of this… they have to go back to the house.

A slow, rambling tale told from various perspectives, we have:

  • Alice – Told in the first person. Alice struggles with finding a place to settle as the atmosphere of each place slowly starts to become too much. Alice tells one story after another, slowly revealing her traumas and struggles as she continues to recall the past and tries to outrun her ghosts.
  • Ila – Told in the third person. Ila is determined to get involved in anti-trans groups. She has a hard time moving forward trying to find herself as so much of her thoughts are stuck in the past.  
  • Hannah – A friend of the first two who just wanted to be seen and respected by her friends. Unwaveringly loyal, even when she saw the red flags, she went along with her friends' plans anyway.
  • House – The house has a long history, but the house doesn’t care about the past like the two others, instead, the house just wants the two back inside it now
Reading Part One, which spans the first half of the book, from Alice and Ila’s perspectives, felt like dealing with two friends that are fighting and each of them are trying to turn you against the other. Now you’ve seen the cracks in both of their stories and arguments, and you can’t believe either of them because of how unreliable they are. 

Part Two gives us some much-needed backstory as we jump back in time to see the traumas each have been trying to live through within the first half of the book. And boy, are these traumas brutal.

Part Three brings the two friends back together, for better or for worse. But is what they’re about to do going to help or hurt?

There are so many dark elements that were woven into the text here. Terrible things like transphobia, homophobia, wicked violence, and much more. Just one very small element that was displayed was the toxicity of social media and the internet in general when used for harm. 

An all-around dark, depressing, and brutal story that doesn’t hold back with the raw, real-world horrors.

My Favorite Passages from Tell Me I’m Worthless 

There was a thick fog in the air. When cars and trucks shot passed, down the road, their headlights looked like the eyes of ghosts.

Haunted houses are rarely neat. If the House was truly haunted, then that haunting spilled out of its broken or boarded up windows, soaking into the fertile earth around it. The trees still grow, but the squirrels in their branches often feel the sudden need to bite each other in the eyes.

In the mirror lla can see that she is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her traumas sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening.

Now, if three girls enter a house and only two leave, who is to blame?
And if both girls tell a different story, but you read online that you have to BELIEVE WOMEN, what do you?

Memory is a difficult thing to navigate, especially traumatic memory. It splinters. You can cut yourself on the edges of it so easily.

My Final Thoughts on Tell Me I’m Worthless

Reading this felt a bit like walking in the dark house, complete with twisted hallways that suddenly split, sending you on a new path feeling bewildered, sad, and angry. 

For readers of the extreme that don’t mind very, very dark, and upsetting tales, this one will be a good fit for you. However, I cannot stress this enough, this is a book to tread lightly with. If you are easily impacted by darkness, this may not be a good fit for you. 

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