Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Etched on Me

Etched on Me is the latest from Jenn Crowell and it's a sprawling, heartfelt book that will have you want to dance at the end. In a Top 40 Latest Hits way.

Or maybe that was just me.

The protagonist, Lesley, has a difficult start to life and for a sixteen year old, she must face circumstances that no one should ever have to process. Grappling with the aftermath of abhorrent abuse from her father and subsequent gas-lighting from her mother, she seeks out a friendly teacher, Miss (a character readers will recognize from Crowell's debut novel, Necessary Madness) and copes in one of the only manners that blocks the pain out, which is self harm. Such acts, with one in particular, land her in two hospitals, where she begins to heal.

She remains friends with Miss and eventually meets Miss's husband and son, after graduating and moving onto college. A chance encounter at a post-college graduation party leads to the book's climax, both the euphoric and the reprehensible way Lesley is treated.

This is a beautiful book. I say that as a simple sentence because if I could review this book in one sentence, it would be that one. It's achingly beautiful and cheering for Lesley left me emotionally spent in the best way possible once the book was over.

However, I must note, for the readers, that there is depictions of self harm and abuse and they are hard to read. But I urge you, to pick up this book, settle into a comfortable chair and a blanket because once you start, you will not stop until the exhausting, exhilarating final pages have finished making you cheer and cry at the same time.

This novel should be on everyone's bookshelves. Buy it for everyone in your life and pair it with a box of tissues.

(Photo Credit: Good Reads)

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