Clare Cannon's Reviews > The Disappeared

The Disappeared by Gloria Whelan
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's review
Jan 18, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 13-15yrs, young-adult
Read from December 31, 2011 to January 13, 2012

This is a powerful short story told with eloquent simplicity. Its subject matter is serious: the political persecution and violation of human rights by Argentina's government in the 1970s, focusing on the student protestors who 'disappeared', taken as prisoners in a kind of witch-hunt for those who were thought to oppose the government.

While showing that the student protesters fought for a just cause, Whelan helps the reader to think deeply about whether some forms of rash rebellion could be half-fed by a reckless pride in wanting to appear rebellious without considering the most effective way to fix a situation.

She is also wise in showing the naivete of a young woman who believes she can make a dangerous boy love her enough to do her a great favour, helping her to learn the unpleasant reality that there is no real love there, he only wishes to use her.

But excellent storyteller that she is, Whelan shows that though flawed, these heroic young people are brave and humble enough to learn from their mistakes, and through their patiently endured suffering their rebellion truly becomes heroic.

While the storyline is serious, Whelan's narrative is refined and not gratuitously graphic, there are very few brief descriptions of torture and the romance is halted before going too far. Things are implied without being spelt out in detail, though what is implied would probably still be too much for younger readers. And for older readers it is a book that should be thought about and talked about. Mature readers 13 and up.
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Reading Progress

12/31/2011 page 26
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Shauna (new) - added it

Shauna Durbin I thought about reading this but it looked too graphic. How much violence is in it?

Clare Cannon It's actually not so violent, one or two details are mentioned about torture and it's not pleasant in the prison, but you get the idea without it being overdone. It's told very simply and could be stylistically aimed at 11-13 year olds, but I think the story is too heavy for them... the style is very simple for adults but it is still very powerful without being awful to read about. Full review soon :)

message 3: by Shauna (new) - added it

Shauna Durbin Thanks Claire! I'll try it.

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