4 out of 4 stars
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When a frazzled-looking customer slides a note across the counter towards Gwen, she knows exactly what his intentions are—to rob the bank. Most bankers would be eager to comply with the assailant's demands, in hopes that they would get through the ordeal unscathed. But Gwen is not most people. In fact, she would be quite content if he shot her right between the eyes and put an end to her miserable existence.
This life had not been kind to Gwen. Constantly being taunted and rejected by the world for being ugly had taken its toll. Gwen tried to rise above the adversity and live an honest life. Still, she was continually straddling the lines of good and evil, and the loss of the only thing she ever loved sent Gwen over the edge.
What happened in Gwen's life to make her want to die? One can only understand by going back in time.
GWEN by E.D. Lippert paints a disturbingly accurate picture of the psychological effects that years of bullying can have on a person. The book is told from the third-person perspective and follows Gwen Marsh. The story begins in the present day, then transports readers back to various events from Gwen's past. From her wretched childhood to losing her beloved daughter, the reasons for her despondency become evident as the past is uncovered.
One of my favorite things about the story was the author's attention to the main character's development and evolution. Gwen's tortuous childhood resulted in a complete withdrawal from the world and caused her to internalize pain. It was fascinating to delve deep into Gwen's psyche and experience her inner dialogue. How do the opinions of others shape our own? How far can a person be pushed before they snap?
In addition to the impeccable character development, the author did an excellent job revealing tidbits about Gwen's life at a pace that allowed me to slowly piece together the clues as to where the story was headed. Always wanting more, I voraciously devoured the book.
While I tried to find something that I disliked about GWEN, it was a pointless endeavor. The writing was engaging and professionally edited. I was immersed from beginning to end—never getting bored with the storyline. I have happily chosen to give the book a rating of four out of four stars; it had a fascinating protagonist who forced readers to imagine themselves in her shoes.
I would highly recommend the book to readers who enjoy novels with a flawed main character. Gwen is no angel; there are times when you will shake your head in disgust at her choices. Conversely, there will be other times that you will be rooting for her. I would not recommend this book to readers looking for a light read; the book deals with some weighty topics such as bullying and suicide. It is not intended for a young audience. GWEN is riddled with swearing and violence, which could be a potential trigger for some people.
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