Sunday, February 26, 2012

Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess

Meredith was supposed to have nine years, enough time for her to reach 18 and have a normal life.  Instead she gets three years before her father is released, a paedophile who sexually assaulted her and other children.  It was a secret she kept for a long time, and when he was finally caught she was brave enough to testify against him with the promise that he would be gone for years.  Her mother has been dreaming of the day he would come home, but for Meredith it is a waking nightmare that has the promise of pain and disappointment.

The courts say he can't spend time alone with her, that he can't spend time with any child alone, but with a mother who refuses to see what happened as nothing more than a mistake, Meredith has nowhere to turn - or so it seems.  The people who live in the condos around the family can see some of the truth, but is it enough for someone to take action?  Will Meredith be safe this time, or will she break when confronted with a father who still wants her body and soul after three years away from his little girl?

This is another one of those vaguely uncomfortable reads that hooks you from the beginning with a character that tells her story directly to you - an unflinching story of betrayal and unwilling incest.  Meredith is the voice, and champion, for the many victims of incest and sexual molestation, a sad figure that finds the strength to report her father for what he did, and has the strength to resist his advances when he is released from prison.  The supporting cast are a mixed bunch of fellow victims, righteous hunters, and the cop who helped to bring him down.  In some respects it lacks some of the grit of other novels, but that is a benefit here as the story washes over and around you rather than crashing into you and leaving you so disgusted that you can't read anymore. 

This is not an easy read, and it would be best suited to older teens, but Meredith is a voice for the victims, a possible way to reach victims who have been through a similar situation, or at least a read for those who want to understand more about what it feels like to try and find a new identity after your old one has been shattered by someone you should be able to trust.  It also raises the niggling little flag that too many young victims face this same fate, forced to live in close proximity with their brutalisers, while other people are oblivious to what really happened, or who know what happened but refuse to acknowledge it.

If you read this book and would like to read similar books then try:
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Leftovers by Laura Wiess
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
  • How it ends by Laura Wiess
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown

Reviewed by Brilla

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