Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: Singing Songs

This is a book about child abuse. Anna and her siblings are abused by their father in every way: physically, emotionally, and sexually. Her brothers are not allowed to sleep in the house, and all of the children attend school only sporadically. The family continues to move to rural areas to avoid contact with the authorities. Anna's mother is not as guilty of abuse, but she is certainly guilty of neglect and failure to protect her children.

The book is narrated in Anna's voice, and it is quite believable. Through Anna's experience we can see how an abused child struggles to sort out what is right and wrong. Hers is a world in which the wrong has become normative. It is a startling reminder of how easy it is to hide a family's darkest secrets. It was shocking to me just how easily Anna's parents avoided schools, doctors, social workers, and anyone else who might interfere. Anna is a charming and believable narrator. It is hard not to feel for her plight.

 Meg Tilley, Singing Songs (Plume 1995) ISBN: 0452271657 


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