Tom Gillespie's Reviews > Grace and Serenity

Grace and Serenity by Annalisa Crawford
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it was amazing

Annalisa Crawford has crafted a soul-searing, pulverising powerhouse of a novel that left me punch drunk and breathless by the end. The tale follows the tragic fall of Grace, a sensitive, innocent and vulnerable teenager who is thrown to the monsters of adulthood and rapidly torn limb from limb. The story begins with an unexpected pregnancy and then the fateful wheels of trouble and misfortune start to spin. Her descent into hell is both terrifying and seemingly unstoppable, as she tumbles from one abusive situation and relationship to the next. Many times I wanted to reach into the pages of the book and rescue her, guide her away from the violence and abuse, towards the daylight and illumination of her own inner strength and identity. While this may be a tragically
familiar story of misogyny, exploitation and the abusive, controlling consequences of male hegemony, the writer is very careful not to turn this into a political polemic. The power of Ms Crawford's story resides in her mastery of language and the intense reality of her characters.

Throughout the novel, there is a resonating tension between the elegant, poetic, and beautifully confessional thoughts and feelings of Grace, and the terse, raw, visceral, terror-filled prose recounting her horrifying experiences. It is Grace's inner voice that we hear throughout, and it is this use of POV that draws us in to her terrifying world and places us directly in the firing line. Short chapters add to the sense of panic as Grace's fragile young life spirals out of control. At one point she even changes her name and invents a new personality to cope with the pain and
suffering she is enduring at the hands of yet another abuser; a powerful metaphor for her own loss of liberty, control, self-worth and identity.

Grace and Serenity is a heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, anger-inducing, and painfully moving novel that resonates far beyond the final page. It serves as a damning inditement of our so-called civilised society where we continue to allow the monsters to run free, and the tragic plight of Grace and her baby, Serenity, will linger in my soul for a long time to come.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 29, 2020 – Shelved

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