4 out of 4 stars
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Nobody’s Child by Penelope June Bennett is a terrifying tale of abuse. It follows Biddy, a woman who fell victim to an abusive husband. She started her life with dreams of becoming a nurse. She moved from her childhood home in Ireland to England, where she worked in a pub to save enough money to train as a nurse. It was there that she met her future husband, Sean O’Malley. He seemed to be a charming young man, and soon they married. Biddy set aside her dream of becoming a nurse and instead fulfilled her duties of being a wife, including having Sean’s children. The relationship started wonderfully, but it soon devolved into abuse. Sean would return home, drunk, and beat Biddy and rape her over and over again. He showed her no mercy, and she slowly became a shell of the woman she had once been.
The writing of this book was excellent. The abuse was captured in vivid detail, and it was horrifyingly easy to picture Biddy’s downward spiral. Bennett’s use of language was visceral and heart-wrenching. The acute attention to detail was my favorite part of this novel.
The characters were also portrayed realistically. Each major character had a rich backstory that made their motives clear. Biddy’s arc showed how she went from a hopeful girl to a woman trapped in an abusive relationship whose mind and body were fractured beyond repair. Bennett also explains how Sean ended up as a terror to his family. Though his back story does not excuse his actions, it paints him as a human instead of a monster.
The only dislike I had about this book was the length. It was very short, less than a hundred pages. I would have loved to see it expanded more and possibly dive deeper into the events. This would be my only dislike about this book.
The grammar in this book was also excellent. I only noticed one error; I believe it was professionally edited.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This book touches on a lot of sensitive topics. It also has strong language and sexual content, so I would not recommend this for younger audiences. In addition, if either rape or abuse bothers you, then this is not the book for you; Bennett’s descriptions are horrifyingly realistic. However, if you are looking for a realistic piece of historical fiction focused on family dynamics, then this is the book for you.
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