Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin

Matthew is the eldest in a family in deep trouble. Their mother Nikki abuses and tortures her children, while Matthew tries to outwit her to protect himself and his sister. But as the abuse gets worse and worse, Matthew must seek outside help. In the resulting chain of events, Matthew struggles with conflicting feelings of love, hatred, loyalty, and malice towards his Mom.

Well-written but ultimately gut wrenching and terribly depressing novel about child abuse. On the one hand, you have to aplaud an accomplishment like this. The characters are very well developed, the story is engaging, and the fact that it will turn your stomach is testament to the power of Welin's writing. But one doesn't read a book like this for enjoyment. You might see this as educational and perhaps entertaining, but it is a miserable book to read.

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