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THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES by Brock Cole

THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

By Brock Cole

Age Range: 13 - 16

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1997
ISBN: 1-886910-14-6

 A brilliantly crafted, shocking account, narrated by a teenager, of her mother's chronic incompetence and her own sexual abuse; it will slice readers to the bone less for its tragic details than for the casual, ingenuous tone in which they are revealed. In an indignant response to a social worker's unflattering report, Linda, 13, describes how, after the death of her father, she cared for first one, and then two, brothers as her mother took up with a succession of men, abandoned her for months to a senile widower, and found a job at last, working for a married businessman, Jack Green, who ultimately seduced Linda. Rejecting the social worker's contention that she was raped, Linda claims to have felt only mild impatience with Green the first time, and her childish pleasure at his gifts and toys is clear. She admits to no strong feelings even after Green is murdered, although her sometimes violent actions contradict her reasonable tone; hints that some of her ``facts'' may be imaginary only deepen the contrast. Readers may admire Linda for maintaining even an illusion of control, but will also see that she has inherited her mother's bad judgment, and that neither her story nor her promises can be trusted--a recipe for a troubled future. A raw, powerful character study of someone trying to construct a particular version of reality, and failing, because the ``facts'' tell a different story. Cole shows real literary chops in a book whose aesthetic merits outrun, by far, the ethics police. (Fiction. 13-16)