Note: I received a digital copy of this book from Masquerade Tours for review consideration.
Warning: This book deals with child molestation and abuse, and so does this review.
Burnt Edges is heart wrenching–this is both a compliment and a warning. If you can’t stand to read about child abuse and sexual abuse, don’t read it. I barely got through it myself. This story takes place during the 1960s, and it deals with alcoholism and abuse within that time period, and its saving grace from all these painful topics is how well written it is. The characters, especially the children, seem like real people, with all the mundane events and conversations of life, as well as the earth shattering ones.
Laurel is a young girl at the beginning of this story, doing her best to keep her head down and avoid her sullen and often-drunk father. We gradually see that this quiet, angry man is physically abusive toward his children, and sexually abusive toward his daughter, Laurel. Laurel’s mother is cold and controlling, and she refuses to listen to Laurel’s accusations toward her father. Fearful and confused, Laurel takes the abuse, and as she grows up, she watches as it drives her older brother, Rusty, away and leads her younger brother toward the same rage and violence that her father possesses. Meanwhile, Laurel is settling into a relationship with a man who is as controlling and angry as her parents. Although she seems to be headed down the path of history repeating itself in her life, with more abusive, angry, controlling people by her side, she is able to change her story and create a new path for herself.
My main issue with this book is the length–it’s a fairly short book, and a lot of things happen within its pages. I think this book would have benefited from a few extra pages for each event, just to allow us to absorb what was happening and what it meant for Laurel. Still, Burnt Edges provides a sensitive, if not in-depth, look into the complex life of an abused child. The book shows us just how complicated the child’s relationship with their abuser often is, that love and hatred, fear and guilt, are often mixed together in that relationship. It gives us a painful glance at how easily these abused children can fall into a cycle of either abusing or being abused throughout the rest of their lives, but it also offers hope that the cycle can be broken.
Rating: Pretty Darn Good (but with a trigger warning)