Monday, August 1, 2011

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Kendra is the survivor of childhood sexual abuse, abuse that left her unable to remember the face of her rapist.  With the help of her therapist Carolyn, Kendra is beginning to make connections, beginning to feel safer than she has in a while, but there is something that Kendra keeps hidden even from Carolyn - when the pain gets too much to bear, Kendra cuts herself.  Her arm is a map of her pain and emotional turmoil, a carefully hidden secret from the world.   At home her mother is falsely cheerful, waatching over Kendra like a mother hen, when she isn't busy making critical observations about Kendra's raw and emotional art.  Kendra's father is quiet and tormented, dealing with his own demons about failing to protect Kendra from the abuse and the lose of his job.  At school Kendra is beginning to make connections with another person, but are things what they seem?

This was a powerful and gritty novel that pulled no punches, and at times leaves you feeling distinctly uncomfortable, like you are intruding on something private.  Kendra is a strong voice for this novel, and unlike some of the books about cutting there is no hesitation about talking of the cutting, what it feels like, what it looks like, and the dangers that it can pose if not taken seriously.  The author's note explains some of the realism, as the author was herself a cutter.  This is not a book to be taken lightly, and if you have a friend that you think might be cutting then this book could go some way to helping you understand why they are cutting and some ideas about how you might be able to help them. 

At certain times the characters around Kendra seem a little flat and two-dimensional, but that suits to fact that Kendra is the centre of the novel.  And the end of the novel is somewhat ho-hum, but does provide a certain amount of satisfaction for the reader without being too far fetched.  If you think you cana handle the realism of this story them give it a go because it was an amazing read - thank you Cheryl Rainfield for not pulling punches or trying to sugar coat what is a very difficult topic.

If you like this book then try:
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Cut by Patricia McCormick
  • The lovely bones by Alice Sebold

Reviewed by Brilla

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