Enchanted Librarian's Reviews > Hush

Hush by Jacqueline Woodson
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Jul 09, 12

bookshelves: classroom
Read in July, 2012

This was a fantastic book. “For more than thirteen years I’d been Toswiah. Then came an end to that system of things” (61). This is a story of what happens to Evie when she is forced to leave everything behind in the middle of the night: her home, her friends, her clothes, her things, her cat, even her name. Her father has made a choice that requires the family go into the witness protection program. Should her father have done the right thing, even at such a great cost to everyone around him? “’Exactly,’ he said, frowning into the darkness…’Both choices seem so damn wrong’” (36). It is a book that leaves one pondering many issues. The world is a very dangerous place in which to be a young, black boy – even the innocent are immediately suspect just by the color of their skin. Can our society ever really jump this hurdle? And what does happen if you have to leave your identity behind, especially at the age when you are just developing your identity? Woodson’s writing flows beautifully, even during the deepest pain, “This morning my father slammed his bowl against the floor, picked up a shard of it and jammed it into his wrist, saying that he was ready to die now…My body is here but my mind isn’t. It left as the glass pierced my father’s skin” (157-8). The book left me longing for the end of the story, there was closure, but I’d like to know that they really did make it mentally – and that one day they were able to make it back to a good life. There is a violent situation and racism, but not enough for the book to receive a serious challenge. Even the father’s suicide attempt is handled well – he is immediately given the help he needs and it is not in any way glorified. I would recommend this to students ten years and up based on maturity and reading level, there needs to be a certain level of maturity to grasp the messages in the book, I’d hate for a student to miss those because they read the book too soon.
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