Louise's Reviews > Learning to Cry

Learning to Cry by Christopher C. Payne
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Dec 01, 10

bookshelves: fiction
Read in December, 2010

Melissa’s parents had divorced and she played back and forth between the two, going from one parents home to the other when the rules of one didn’t suit her. Melissa completely despised rules as most teenagers do. Living with her mother, Cheryl, she vowed never to see her Dad again. Her mother hated him so why shouldn’t she?

One evening Melissa snuck her friend Curtis in through her bedroom window. Once she had done that, she looked at the window as a door. If someone can come in, then she can also go out. After smoking some pot together and having sex with Curtis, he threw the used condom on the window sill and they settled in to watch some television. Suddenly someone was screaming and it was Cheryl, Melissa’s mother who immediately saw the condom on the window sill. She bagged it up as if she were a forensic specialist and dragged Curtis downstairs.

Cheryl spoke with Duncan and they decided together to call the police and have Curtis charged with statutory rape because Melissa was a minor. Melissa was completely enraged with her mother and asked to move back in with her father. Duncan, through his many tears and his strong love for Melissa consented to her move.

From here the story goes from bad to worse and Duncan spends more and more time crying and feeling lonely not knowing what to do with his wild and out of control daughter. He worried that he may have to admit that she was bad and wondered if Melissa was the child that all other parents warned their kids to stay away from. Then again, how can Duncan possibly be a good example for his daughter when he himself smoked the odd joint and openly drank?

How would Melissa feel if she ever found out about her father? In my opinion, probably angry, betrayed and lied too. Duncan is walking a thin line here. But little does Duncan or Cheryl for that matter know that soon their daughter would end up in a locked psychiatric facility, asking them to “make the voices stop!”

Duncan continues to struggle with how to tame his wild daughter, he is lost in his own loneliness and tears but Duncan may have to lose everything to get his daughter back.

As a parent myself of two teenage sons, I understand the pain Duncan endures over his beloved daughter, Melissa. It is only with a strong bond and unconditional love that we get through those horrible patches with our teenagers. This is a book that I think every parent with pre-teens or teens should read. None of us are ever prepared for what comes from these once cute, everybody loved little person to the enraged, confused, out of control people they become.

This was an excellent novel and very well written. I look forward to many more novels from Mr. Payne!
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