Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Such A Pretty Girl
Wiess, Laura. 2007. Such A Pretty Girl.
There was something so powerful about this novel. From the very beginning, it speaks with a powerful certainty, an urgency, a mix of fear and dread. They promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three. Today my time has run out. (1) Our narrator, Meredith, is a victim of sexual abuse. Her abuser, her father, is being released from prison. Her mother, despicable self-deluded monster that she is, is taking him back. Of course "officially" her father is supposed to be living in a separate apartment. But there are a whole lot of supposed-to's that just aren't matching up with reality. Meredith's life is full of complications. There's her past, of course, and her iffy present. Even before her father's release, Meredith's mom blamed her for her husband's imprisonment. Blamed her for telling. Blamed her for his absence.
Sharon Shale, my mother, does not see what she doesn't want to see. She never has. And for the last three years, she hasn't wanted to see me. At least not in private, when no one else is watching. She's always half-turned away, ahead of or behind me, tossing out words without watching to gauge their effect, cluttering my wake with complaints of attitude, dirty dishes, or stray eyebrows plucked into the sink. She acts like my scars are on the outside and I'm too disturbing to look at head-on. So I leave proof of my existence behind me like a snail trail with the small hope that years of talking at me will someday soften her enough to talk with me, that she'll finally pull the knife from my chest and say yes, we are better off without him. That what happened wasn't my fault and from now on she will thrust herself between me and danger, and shout NO. (5-6)
Powerful. Direct. Compelling. With her father's return, her life--her future--is in jeopardy once again. Can Meredith be strong enough, smart enough, fast enough to outwit her abuser? Is there anyway she can escape her past and present so that she can claim her future?
Well written, emotional, this is one I couldn't put down. I highly recommend it.