Jim, convicted of raping two female classmates in High Heels and Lipstick (2015), now looks to move forward and to confront his own history.
No longer welcome in either of his parents’ homes, Jim catches a break when Delia, a cousin he has never met, offers to take him in. In Michigan with Delia, Jim works at Delia’s art-supply store but largely keeps to himself, certain that others would reject him if they found out about his past. Meanwhile, thoughts and memories of the sexual abuse Jim endured as a child at the hands of his mother's boyfriend begin to surface. Should Jim tell anyone about the abuse? Is Jim gay, and if so, did his mother's boyfriend cause it? Doesn't what Jim did to Chastaine and Maryellen make him just as bad as the man who abused him? These questions are explored thoughtfully as Jim meets with therapists, builds trust with Delia, and keeps his distance from a boy eager to befriend him. The issue of how to move forward after one has caused serious harm is an important one, and though not all readers will agree that Jim should receive the benefit of the doubt from new acquaintances, his remorse here is genuine and sympathetic.
Embraces Jim's humanity without letting him off the hook. (Fiction. 14-18)