Erin's Reviews > The Rules of Survival

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
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's review
Mar 29, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: yafiction
Recommended for: People who enjoyed "A Child Called 'It'" or other accounts of children surviving abuse

Emmy, the events we lived through taught me to be sure of nothing about other people. They taught me to expect danger around every corner. They taught me to understand that there are people in this world who mean you harm. And sometimes, they're people who say they love you.

So begins the account that Matthew is writing for his youngest sister, Emmy. Matthew's mother has always been a little unstable, but after awhile, he feels as though she has given in to the demons that she previously managed to keep at bay for years. He no longer knows what to expect - he wakes up one night to hear her laughing, and realizes she has a knife at his throat. Other days, she throws Matthew and his two younger sisters out of the room before she begins tossing dishes against the walls, and they barricade themselves in the single bedroom they share.

Matt realizes this is not a safe place for himself, or for Emmy and Callie, but it seems like nobody would listen to his cries for help. Until he meets Murdoch, a man he saw at a grocery store who saved a child from being beaten by his father. But can Matt manage to get help from a complete outsider?

This book was absolutely riveting, yet it was frustrating to read about such a horrible mother and children who were helpless in their situation. Although it didn't seem as though she physically beat her children often, her emotional abuse more than made up for it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about children and/or teens who manage to survive in a situation like this, against all odds.

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message 1: by Jan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Hi Erin, I just got this book, so I am looking forward to reading it!


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