Kyli's Reviews > The Box Children

The Box Children by Sharon Wyse
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Jul 13, 2012

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Read in July, 2012

This book is hard for me to rate, because it was such a painful read. I didn't think I could finish it. I finally decided that I wanted to try again, because I stopped reading on such a depressing note and was hoping maybe the story would become more optimistic. I couldn't get the character out of my head, so I think that says something about the quality of the writing.

This was quite possibly the saddest book I've ever read. It filled me with anger and made me want to jump through the pages and rescue the 11 year old narrator. Seriously. It infuriated me.

Luanne is an abused little girl, who's spirit and courage shine through in every single page of her diary. There is so much quiet strength in the mere fact that, despite how much she could be punished for it, she decides to keep a diary anyway. Her experiences with her mother are haunting and never have I despised a character so much in my life. I kept shaking my head the whole time, even saying aloud "What a disgusting woman" and then at moments, like Luanne, I'd find myself feeling a tinge of pity for this self-destructing character.

I've never been abused as Luanne's character was, but I could identify with that time in my childhood when I changed from a girl to a young woman. I can remember the scary, awkwardness that came along with it and how it seemed, in some strange way, like my own growth had opened up doors for potentially bad things to happen. Unfortunately I think many young girls experience this feeling to a degree - there is so much confusion about what it means to become a woman. What it means to be someone's daughter, someone's wife. That was the theme I noticed through out this book and it really got me thinking about society and gender.

Though few and far between, the rare tender moments between Luanne and her brother touched me. I felt for his character also - a boy struggling himself with the idea of what it means to be an adult, what it means to be a man, and sadly, it was their parents, who ultimately drove a wedge between the siblings - by the end of the story, however it seems that the children will succeed in doing what children do best; loving each other and leaning on one another.

I enjoyed Earl & Lonnie's characters - without them, I'm not sure I could have kept reading. They offered a sense of hope, a glimmer of something positive. I found such beautiful irony in the fact that they were a group of random men working in a field, men who many people in that day & age would have been stereotyped as "low-class" or even dangerous, and yet their encounters with Luanne remain pleasant and comfortable. And yet, her experiences with her own father could not be any less...

(Speaking of that, I wanted to jump through the pages and attack her father as well!)

Overall I'm impressed by this book. The writing was honest and raw. It really felt like it was written from a child's perspective. I loved the simplicity in some of her thoughts- innocent, and yet so deep and introspective. I found myself wanting the best for her from the very first few pages. She's a character I probably will never forget.

I'm only giving it 3 stars, just because as much as I was impressed by it, I can't say I enjoyed reading it, simply because it was just so painful and depressing. That being said, there is a lot of hope tucked between each sentence - which is exactly what has always fascinated me about abused children; their ability to be like flowers growing through cement, the way they can find and hold onto the tiny, good things and forge through all of the terrible things that happen to them. Because of that, it was definitely worth the read. Just keep some tissues nearby and definitely don't read it if you're already in a not-so-good mood!
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