3 out of 4 stars
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I was born lucky. I had two parents who loved me and supported me in any way possible. Not everyone is that lucky. The Crying Tree Diary by Lorah Green is the story of one such child who wasn't so lucky.
Lorah Green is a social worker who has been a victim of child abuse herself. So while this is a fictional book, there is truth behind the story. This truth comes shining through every word of this book showing us what it's really like to be a victim.
The Crying Tree Diary follows the life of a girl named Julie. It starts at the very beginning of her life – her birth. She sees her mother being abused by her father and cries for her. Soon a stepfather named John enters her life, and it seems that she can do nothing right. She recieves beating after beating, many times not even understanding what it is she has done wrong. Will she find a way out of this situation? Will this be more than she can bear?
One of the things that I like about this story is that it is told in the first person perspective. We see events the way Julie views them; we are able to hear her thoughts. In a story of abuse such as this, it really helps us to understand the psychological aspect of physical abuse. The one negative that comes from this viewpoint is that it can be hard to figure out who people are. We only know as much as Julie tells us. There were characters that even at the end, I didn't figure out who exactly they were. Fortunately, this didn't really distract from the story itself as these were minor characters.
The themes in this novel are dark and haunting. This is not a book to be taken lightly or read on a whim. This is a story that will stick with you. Those that are squeamish might want to think twice before reading this book. While the author handles sexual, phsyical and psychological abuse with the utmost care, there are those that it would be too much for.
As far as the language of the book, it is somewhat childish in nature as it is written from a child's perspective. There were errors here and there, but I am unable to make a determination if these were accidental or purposefully added to show the protagonist's age. In the end, it added to Julie's character whether intentional or not.
All in all, I rate The Crying Tree Diary 3 out of 4 stars. The book is well-written and thought-provoking. However, since I had somewhat of a hard time with some of the minor characters and the unintentional (or intentional) errors, I could not give it a full 4 stars. I would highly recommend this to parents, teenagers, anyone who works with children as well as those who have suffered from abuse themselves. This would be a great conversation starter to open up lines of communication in the family.
The Crying Tree Diary
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