“Me & Emma” is narrated by an eight year old child, Carrie Parker. She lays out the details of her abandoned life and emphasizes greatly on her distinct relationship with her little sister, Emma. Carrie and Emma are polar opposites. “Our hair is different colours but our skin is where you see the biggest difference.” Carrie also has dark complexion and Emma is fair, “like someone for bored painting hair.” Although, Carrie is 2 years older, she is often bossed around by the fearless Emma. Nonetheless, one thing they share in common is the sorrow in their lives, as they are essential to each other’s survival in a volatile and dysfunctional family. Emma is Carrie’s salvation, Carrie’s liberation from the relentless and ruthless reality.
For Carrie Parker, life is divided into before and after. Before her beloved father’s brutal murder, her family lived comparatively happy. “Payday was always the best day of the month when Daddy was alive...I’d be so excited.” Now she and her sister, Emma, endure daily verbal and physical abuse, additionally suffering the emotional absence of their mother. “The first time Richard hit me I saw stars in front of my eyes just like they do in cartoons.” As an older sibling, Carrie feels responsible to protect herself and Emma from their ‘stepdaddy’, Richard’s, mistreatment. “A big sister has to look out for a baby sister.”
The narrative alternate scenes from the past and present, bringing contrast to the reader of her fond past and her brutal present. “I can barely remember Momma the way she used to be, before Richard broke her into pieces.”
Elizabeth Flock, the author of this novel creates an eloquent vivid impression of the characters, setting and events. “The blood’s spreading out of her head like a spilled cup of coffee. One arm bent like it’s been pulled out of its socket.” She develops a visual aspect of each character’s physical appearance and personality in the reader’s mind and creates a particular sympathetic mood throughout the novel. “Richard. Now there’s a guy who isn’t like anyone we’ve read about during bedtime.” Her writing style, of intricate words and precise use of literary devices engages the reader’s attention and emerges their feelings toward Carrie. The characterization and writing of sisterly love is heart-warming. The imagery and diction of the abuse is heartbreaking. The author’s ability to write from a child’s perspective is heart wrenching.
While the plot may seem familiar with just another story on domestic abuse, the unanticipated dramatic twist leads the reader down an unexpected path towards an appalling conclusion. As one severe discovery and incident reveals the devastating truth of Carrie, Emma, her father’s death and the people around her, it will make the audience jaw drop. This significant turn puts all the pieces of the puzzle together and convinces the reader to reread the novel in order to catch the unexpected.