A disturbing and illuminating tale about sexual abuse.



A debut novel offers the first-person point of view of a young girl abused and assaulted by her family.

To outsiders, Deidi might seem like a normal, quiet little girl. Her family places presents around the tree at Christmas and shares loving moments. But what Deidi has been through by the time she’s 7 years old is a litany of horrors. As this book starts, her family is about to move from a rural community to a bigger city in Washington state. She is packing up her belongings and remembering the last four years of her life, starting from 1968. Her first memory is her third birthday party, surrounded by her mom and dad; her brother, Matty; her grandparents; and her great-grandparents. It’s a joyful recollection, but there are linguistic clues that things will change. Deidi describes her father, revealing, “Mommy says he’s handsome if she’s happy.” Readers learn that Matty has violent tendencies when he kills a kitten for fun. Then they see Deidi’s father enter her room late at night. When he strips her, she thinks she’s going to be spanked. Instead, her father molests her, the first of many instances detailed in the story. Deidi’s mother covers for him, even making the girl feel responsible for his actions at times. She tells Deidi she can never tell anyone about the things her father and brother do or they’ll be taken away. Deidi doesn’t understand her predicament—she’s knows she’s been bad because of how the adults react, but she can’t figure out what she’s done wrong. The abuse is a family epidemic. Deidi’s grandfather and uncle molest her, and her father lets his friends sexually abuse her and Matty. By age 7, she has a hard time distinguishing between reality and the place she goes when life gets too painful. This novel, “based on a true story,” is a harrowing read, and it should be. Blume captures Deidi’s innocence beautifully: how she tries to be good; the inviting fantasies she wishes were reality. The terrible things she endures stand out that much more for it. The author, who works as a producer of public service media and research projects, says she hopes the book “will help adults to experience life as a very young child who needs them does.” This enlightening work skillfully does that and more.

A disturbing and illuminating tale about sexual abuse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-692-10406-4

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Illumine LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2018

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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