Tuesday, May 1, 2012

READING: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Publication date: April 24th, 2012
Published by: Walker Children's
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 2/5

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

When I first found out about this book, I thought to myself that's a book for me, contemporary YA with a heartbreaking story behind it. And after the first few chapters I really thought it was. Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there.

In an nutshell: Allie is in a car accident with her boyfriend, Trip, from which only Allie comes out alive. Allie does not remember what happened the night of the accident and what made Trip drive his car of a cliff. At first we are led to believe that Allie and Trip are the perfect couple. As Allie starts to remember however, we find out that Trip was sick, and abused Allie consistently. 

Everything was hanky dory up until that point. Well, not the abuse part, you know what I mean. After reading about the myriad disgusting things that Trip did to Allie, I was almost convinced she somehow had a hand in his downfall.
Now here lies the problem of the book in my opinion. Not only Allie didn't speak up during her whole ordeal with Trip (how long were they together? More than a year I think), not only she let her brother suffer watching her being abused, she also had moments after Trip's death when she actually remembered him with fondness and with some perverse sense of love and longing. I just can't accept her not saying anything, not to her parents, not to a guidance counselor, someone. There was no "No one is going to believe me" scenario, since she had the bruises and cuts to prove it. I am enraged by women who can't stand up for themselves. And remember, we're not talking about a married woman with kids, whose husband abuses her and she has to live with him every freaking day. We're talking about a teenage girl, who at the end of the day goes back to her parents who are there for her. I'm not saying that married women shouldn't speak up, quite the opposite. But living with your abusing partner, spending every day with him, and especially if you have kids, it makes women second guess themselves and their decision to pack up and leave. Also for some of them, her husband is their only support, financial mostly. Sad, but true. Allie's situation is completely different. Trip was a high school crush, for Christ's sake! She was afraid she was gonna tarnish his reputation, to which I reply "Who cares?" He's sick, he needs help. If you don't care about yourself, think about all the other women he may abuse in the future. But no, she couldn't. And because of that her brother and only friend got caught in the crossfire and paid the price for something she should have taken responsibility for.

Eventually, Allie was free because Trip drove off a cliff. Horrah. What if Trip made it? What then? I doubt Allie would have talked. We're talking about a girl who got emotional selling the stuff her abusive boyfriend gave her because she said it felt wrong somehow. I can't even.

Also, the fact that the story dragged, was not to its books favor. Pages after pages of Allie wishing her life could have taken a different turn and feeling miserable overall. I wanted to shake that teen so hard and yell at her that she doesn't have a life yet, not really. All her life is ahead of her and she does nothing, NOTHING, for it to take a different turn. 

Excuse my rant, but reading stuff like that especially in books for teens, enrages me.
I have never been abused in my life so maybe I don't have the right to speak about these things. I don't know how it is, how it feels. I just express my opinion as an individual and as an outside observer. I mean no disrespect to anyone who has/had similar experiences. 
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  1. Aww, I loved this book! I thought it was a great story.

    Thank you though for your honest opinion. Some parts I did agree with you. The part where she refused to speak up for almost the whole book, but I still loved it. :-)

  2. I don't know, Dee. The subject and the way it was handled kinda irked me. Also it was boooring!!!


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