Monday, March 2, 2009
Great Read About a Terrible Topic
Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess recently won second place in the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award contest. It is the story of Meredith, a fourteen year old girl who was repeatedly raped by her father until he injured her so badly that she had to go to the hospital. Her father was arrested, imprisoned, but was released after having served only three years. The book begins with Meredith's father returning to her life, much to the delight of her mother, who is desperate to hold onto her marriage, even though she knows what he did to Meredith. Incest is a very difficult topic to stomach, even in fiction, but Wiess handles it with an appropriate amount of honesty, outrage, and just enough details to make it wrenching without being too graphic. On her official website, Wiess comments on writing Such a Pretty Girl, and how she extensively researched incest's effects on victims, the way incest crimes are prosecuted, and case studies of various perpetrators of incest. She felt so outraged by what she found that she felt compelled to write this novel so that people could have some sense of what the victims go through. The ending was a little strange for me, but because it is a short, well-written book with a lot of impact, I'm giving it 3 1/2 out of 4 Bananas.