Friday, June 15, 2018

Behind Closed Doors, by Miriam Halahmy

Josie’s mother is a hoarder and the house she lives in with her Mum is packed to the ceiling with junk.  Josie’s never been able to bring friends over and now it’s so bad that she has the bathe at school.  Still, her mother continues to obsessively buy more and more stuff until the day comes when she is arrested for not paying her taxes and Josie has to fend for herself.

Tasha would be fine if only her Mom would get rid of her current boyfriend Chaz.  He leers at her and, when her mother isn’t looking, touches her in inappropriate ways. No longer feeling safe at home, she sleeps over at friends’ houses until she wears out her welcome.  With no where else to go, she finds herself staying with Josie. Together, the two girls use their wits and whatever resources they can find to avoid ending up on the streets or in the clutches of social services.

I wasn’t really sure what to make of this novel.  It’s a very busy story with lots of characters and they are not entirely memorable.  The cultural barrier (US vs UK) doesn’t help.  But ultimately, I just found myself turned off by characters that were so devoted to avoiding help.  I get this fear of foster care, but compared to the risks to which they subjected themselves, it made no sense.

No comments: