A profound, perceptive story of a sexual abuse survivor.

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SAY SOMETHING

In Morrison’s debut novel, a teen who suffered sexual abuse as a child finally goes after the perpetrator when she fears he hasn’t stopped targeting young girls.

Missouri high school senior Maggie Bryant generally keeps to herself. Nearly a decade ago, when she was 8, she admitted to a friend that her mom’s boyfriend, Warren, had been sexually abusing her. But after Children’s Services got involved, Maggie’s mother, Tina, convinced her daughter to recant. Though Warren never touched her again, Maggie has struggled ever since with the emotional aftershocks, including periodic night terrors. Now she just wants to be “normal,” and charming, chivalrous football player Matt McGuire gives her that chance. The two start dating, but Maggie, though she’s fond of Matt, finds it hard to open up about her past. That seems impossible given her abuser’s reputation: Warren is the assistant county prosecutor and a former high school football star whom even Matt admires. But when Maggie has an encounter with Warren’s young daughter, she suspects he’s still a predator. Despite Tina’s warning that Warren is a powerful man with connections, Maggie decides to turn him in for what he’d done years earlier. She anticipates—and faces—a backlash, but she’s determined to ensure that he never preys on another girl. Morrison aptly handles this story’s sensitive subject matter without graphically depicting Warren’s atrocities. Maggie is a complex, engrossing protagonist whose attempts to pass for a typical, carefree teenager involve a never-ending battle, and her first-person narrative makes it easy to understand why she’s been quiet for so long. Matt is a likable romantic lead with a few flaws (perhaps a bit overprotective), and even Tina is sympathetic, as there’s an implication Warren had been physically abusive with her as well. Morrison’s straightforward but stirring narrative stays predominantly in Maggie’s head, as the teen perpetually debates how to respond to particular situations and people while suppressing a constant anger.

A profound, perceptive story of a sexual abuse survivor.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73412-691-4

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Stories Matter Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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