Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book of the Week: Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams

Heartbreaking. Gritty. Devastating. Somber. Real. 


These are the words that come to mind when I think of my experience in reading Carol Lynch Williams's novel in verse, Glimpse. It is the story of two sisters torn apart by an abusive, uncaring, and demented mother. It is the story of innocence lost. It is madness and reality all in one. 

Written in a series of poems, the narrative voice of the main character has a child-like feel to it. In fact, the speaker in this book is probably in her pre-teen years. It reads like a poetic version of Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina. The themes are similar and so is the utter desperation of the children in these books. 

This book gave me horrible nightmares. It is not out-and-out graphic in terms of portraying the abuse that infects the lives of these two girls, but it is emotionally and mentally provocative. I was disturbed by this book. But, that is not necessarily a bad thing. I think that this book could be very helpful and/or interesting to readers who have enjoyed other controversial novels like Ellen Hopkins's Tricks and Thalia Chaltas's Because I Am Furniture. No happy endings. But, a realistic view of the lives of two young girls whose every day lives are turbulent and unpredictable.

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