Martha has a lot of troubles to deal with. She's one of the few whites at her inner city school and been singled out for bullying. But no torture from her classmates can compare to the living hell that her alcoholic and abusive mother puts her through. And when her Mom isn't after her, it's an abusive boyfriend (hers or her mother's) or a jealous girlfriend. Life is simply one nearly uninterrupted hell. Her only respite is her incredible musical talent with the cello.
An incredibly dreary and down read, recommended for masochists only. This is a book which reinforces the notion that YA literature should hurt (see Rules of Survival for another recent example of the genre). The writing is decent but there's not much to recommend a novel which consists of a heroine who has nothing but anger and bad luck and never ever manages to grow. Depressing and unnecessary.
I have to disagree with your review on Before, After, and Somebody In Between. I read the book and found it compelling and entertaining, and I'm far from a masochist. Martha DOES grow, and I came to love her by the end. I thought she was a very multi-dimensional character. In addition to anger, she has intelligence, confusing love for her abusive mother, an aching hope for a better future, and a desperate need to please and be loved. Many teenage girls whose situations may not be as extreme as hers will see something of themselves in Martha. I respectfully submit that maybe your gender is one reason you don't identify with this character. Trust me, girls and women will.
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