Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell

At first, this book annoyed me badly. Badly enough I almost quit reading it. I didn't realize I had a pet peeve against slang being used in books until this one bombarded me with slang (STOP with the "chillaxed"....seriously). I kept at it and ended up actually happy to have read it.

It's a brutal story, to be sure, but Lesley Holloway is introduced to us at 16 years old, having ran away from home and away from her rapist father and pathetic mother. She calls Social Services and, in England at least, they step in and help her out with boarding, food and school. This is a story of mental illness. Lesley turns to self-harm in order to cope with her new situation. When her mother turns against her, her dad ends up in prison, and she ends up alone, she attempts suicide. From there, we follow Lesley through psych wards, therapy and finding a surrogate family.

When Lesley is in her early 20's, she finally has consensual sex and ends up pregnant. The second part of the novel is Lesley trying to prove to Social Services that she is stable enough to be a single mother. This part was heartbreaking. I've never been in any situations like Lesley but the writing and the story feel very true.

This wasn't an easy read, outside of the terrible slang used, but in the end, it was worth reading.

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