It’s difficult to say that I enjoyed reading this book but I can say that it is a very well written and compelling story. It is also horrifying and disturbing. And it’s brilliant because it tells a story that I doubt many authors could pull off. It does so with respect and without trivialising or sensationalising a very serious subject matter.
The writing style – short chapters, concise sentences, detached voice - is effective for telling this type of story and perhaps for lessening the blows of some of the horrific and uncomfortable events which are described. The author implies countless instances of abuse that the main character experiences and there is no doubt that they are horrible and they occur often, but they are not so explicit that it becomes impossible to read. This was something that I was worried about before reading this book, as it is YA. That said I’m still not sure I would recommend this to a young person I didn’t know well enough to be sure they could handle it. I’d recommend with caution.
Most disturbing for me is that whilst this story is quite obviously fiction, it, or aspects of it anyway, could be someone’s, anyone’s, many children’s reality. The story will stay with me for a long time because it has highlighted a reality that exists for many people and because it will hopefully make me a little less naïve about the world and some of the people in it. This is an easy book to ignore for good reason, but I would urge people to read it if they can because it’s a story that needs to be told.