To say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded mTo say that this book was a difficult read would be putting it mildly. When I was offered a spot on the tour, after I read the synopsis, it reminded me of another multiple personality book I read years ago called "Sybil" by Flora Rheta Schreiber. The only thing similar about the two books is that both women were abused at a young age and both developed multiple personalities to cope and protect themselves from the abuse. Not to discount the trauma that Sybil suffered, I have to say that the abuse Jenny Hill was subjected to was far, far worse.
I know it really shouldn't shock me that things like this occur, and have occurred, in our society for years, but I'm still in a state of disbelief that anyone, including a child's own father, could sexually abuse a child beginning at infancy. What comes into the equation in Jenny's story is something called Satanic Ritual Abuse. Of course, we've all heard stories and accounts of the practice in the news and such, but it always seems like a horror movie. Not real. Unfortunately, it is real, or was. The level of abuse--emotional, sexual, physical--that Jenny was subjected to was horrific. Not only the horrendous abuse, but also the witnessing of the murders of animals and another child. It's a miracle that Jenny survived.
As I said, an extremely difficult read. I found myself in tears many times as I was reading. But this is an important read because we need to be aware that things like this go on in our world. It reminds us to be aware and watchful of children who may be showing signs that something is wrong. Don't just overlook it. It's also a cautionary tale for parents. Know what your children are doing and where they are going. Of course, back in the 60s, parents weren't as careful or aware of what could happen to young children, but it's still hard to believe that Jenny's mother did not think it was strange that her six year old daughter was gone all the time or that she returned home looking ravaged. That her mother was indifferent and mean to her daughter is just another layer of abuse that Jenny suffered, not to mention that she probably knew that her husband was sexually abusing Jenny, but instead of reacting and taking action, she only expressed jealousy.
Ultimately, "Twenty Two Faces" is a story of survival. Jenny did survive and went on to live a somewhat "normal" life, if it's possible after what she went through. She lived to tell her story and by doing so, she may just succeed in helping others and perhaps preventing abuse like this happening to others. ...more
Once again, historical fiction has led me to a person and a subject I otherwise knew nothing about. I really had no idea that there was such a thing aOnce again, historical fiction has led me to a person and a subject I otherwise knew nothing about. I really had no idea that there was such a thing as anchorages and women (nuns) who became anchorites. These women willingly gave themselves to a monastery to be literally walled in, never seeing the outside world, for the rest of their days. In Illuminations, Hildegard von Bingen is forced to enter an anchorage with a girl (Jutta) who is perceived as the holiest of holy. However, her reasons for committing herself to this fate were brought on by a dark secret. Hildegard spends 30 years there with Jutta, watching her slowly waste away. Only after her death is she finally able to break free.
Having had visions since an early age that she thought meant she was wicked, or that there was something wrong with her, Hildegard came to realize in her long isolation that these were indeed visions of the divine. Once she was given her freedom, she was able to speak out about her visions and write about them. With her fellow sisters, who were also oblates of the anchorage, she works for those in monastic life to know love, the love of God, not to live in cruelty such as the life inside an anchorage most surely was.
Hildegard von Bingen became a saint. Her life and work still inspires people today. She had very diverse and complex ideas and many have viewed her as a religious reformer. I am so glad that I was able to learn about this woman. Mary Sharratt has brought to life in great historical detail a story that should be read by all. I cannot express how much I recommend this book....more
I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to join the tour for this book. Before I read the synopsis, I had visions of a horror strewn blood bath. TI wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to join the tour for this book. Before I read the synopsis, I had visions of a horror strewn blood bath. That was before I looked up the meaning of sundered. (sunder--to separate; part; divide; sever) As I began reading, the name made sense. The Sundered Ones in the story are separate from the humans in physical appearance and in power. And as the author stated in her guest post, Harry doesn't really know what their powers are...no human really does. And not knowing what you're truly dealing with is dangerous.
It would be difficult to go into too much detail about the story because that would give far too much away so I'm going to focus on what I did like. I enjoyed the easy, laid back flow of the characters and their dialogue. There was no stiffness that I have found in other SciFi books I've read. Harry is a riot with his internal monologue. I love when he calls the professor at the Academy a douche (in his head). That's not the only funny thing he says or thinks. Harry is just a riot. His interaction with the Sundered One he claims, Aakesh, is priceless.
Which brings me to the claiming of the Sundered Ones. It seems the humans can "claim" them. To me, it almost seems like slavery. It was never more evident than when Harry is reciting a rhyme they learned to keep track of the tiers of Sundered Ones. It goes like this:
Fifth-tier's strong and lifts big blocks, not too bright but strong as ox. Fourth-tier's fine with clever fingers, painting, sculptures, make good singers. Third-tier's quiet, good for play, safe for children every day. Second-tier's wild, feral, free, eats everyone, but works for me. Claim the rest with little work, but they die soon, so best not shirk.
Aakesh's reaction to this is to say to Harry, "You do not see how degrading it is?" It's obvious that the Sundered Ones do have negative feelings about their place in society, if you can call it that. There really isn't much society in this book because the world has become so surrounded by the black water. Land is few and far between and the cites are brown and dirty. The dystopian elements kept reminding me of that Kevin Costner movie that everyone hated, "Waterworld" (I actually liked it). But it is excellent world building. I could really see in my mind's eye what the author was describing. The black water reminded me of that bog area in Lord of the Rings, I can't remember if it was in The Two Towers or The Return of the King. You know the one with all the dead people in it and it tries to drag Frodo down into it. Creepy.
I am really impressed that this is Reid's first novel. She really knows how to tell a story. I recommend The Sundered to anyone who enjoys the speculative fiction genre. ...more
As I was reading this book, I was reminded of my love of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Beneath the Slashings is similar to those booAs I was reading this book, I was reminded of my love of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Beneath the Slashings is similar to those books, as it is set around the same era and it's told from a young girl's point of view. Grace is a girl to admire. Having lost her mother when she was six years old and then been separated from her father for three years while he served in the Civil War, she has had a lot of sorrow in her life and reasons to be afraid. When her Pa returns from the war, she learns that they will be leaving the comfort and safety of home to live and work in a lumber camp. Her fears multiply and an animosity toward her father, not present before, develops. The book has a nice little mystery to keep the reader guessing, but it's Grace who really steals the show. As she lives and works among all the men of the camp, she learns to be more trusting. She also learns to do many things she never thought she could when she meets an old Ottawa woman. Ultimately, Grace grows up a lot in her time at the camp and her life is better for it.
Beneath the Slashings was a great read for me, not only because of what I said above, but because it is set in my beloved home state of Michigan. Hearing mention of Saginaw county, Manistee, and Grand Rapids brings me back to what I loved learning about Michigan when I was a child. In all, this book is a great coming of age story for the middle grades that teaches the reader about courage and friendship. ...more