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Monday, February 26, 2007

Rules of Survival - Nancy Werlin

This was an excellent book but a difficult one to read because it deals with children who are being abused by their mother. For those of you who are Dave Pelzer fans, this would be a good fiction choice.

This is Matt's story which he is writing down as a letter (one that's the length of a book, but anyway...) to his youngest sister trying to explain to her what happened when she was little, why he did some of the things he did, what kind of person their mother was (probably manic depressive and definitely dangerous), etc.

It's a story in which the main character really delves into himself to try and answer some tough questions. On the one hand, he's not sure he did the right things for himself, for his sisters, for his mother, for anyone. On the other hand, he knows he did the best he could, which is all anyone can ask of anyone else, really, but sometimes it just doesn't seem to be enough.

This book was sad to read because I know there are kids out there, probably kids I even know, who are going through really traumatic, difficult situations just like Matt and his sisters. They struggle every day to try and get through. They dream of just one day when things are normal and hope every night that tomorrow will be better. The insights to these children captured by Werlin are hauntingly realistic.

This book has very short chapters, lots of action, and harrowing suspense. This 2006 National Book Award finalist is definitely another fine piece of writing by Nancy Werlin, and I would recommend it to mature readers 7th grade and up because of the nature of the content.

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