Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ruby on the Outside, by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Ruby's mother is serving a twenty-five year sentence as an accomplice to murder.  To Ruby, it's almost normal that she can only see her Mom during supervised visits, that their phone calls are monitored, or that she has to live with her aunt.  Almost being the key word.

Ruby is stigmatized and too embarrassed even to tell her best friend about where Mom is.  But a new girl next door gives Ruby the courage to start writing about her feelings.  Through some literary therapy, she finds the voice to express her frustrations, fear, and anger.

This is a fascinating book that introduces the corrosive impact of the correctional system on families.  Readers (of any age) probably give little thought to the hardships that incarcerated mothers go through or the damage that is committed on their children.  Baskin deals with the subject sensitively and in an age-appropriate fashion, letting Ruby tells us what it means to her in a way that younger readers will find sympathetic (and that older readers will find heartbreaking!). It plays to Baskin's strength at creating very intimate books about children coping with trauma.  This one tugs on the heartstrings and educates.

No comments: