Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala was a realistic portrait of a psychologically disturbed teenage girl. Overly dependent and eager to please, Joy runs away from her controlling and emotionally abusive boyfriend to live on the streets in Seattle.
What I disliked about this book is that Joy is weak, whiny, doesn't know how to take care of herself, and blames her inexperience on others. I didn't find her likable at all. Her motivation seems to come completely from her infatuation with boys. She moons over them and the story seems propelled by her physical feelings for them-- including her abusive ex whom she originally ran away from. I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if she were stronger emotionally and smarter on the streets.
On a more positive note, there was great use of character parallels that added a lot to the story. Joy’s friend May is physically abused by her pimp and pusher, Maul. They show what Asher and Joy could have become. Cupula is also very good at writing short and powerful phrases that make you stop for a moment to admire and let them sink in. “She looked over her shoulder, and her entire posture changed-- from defiant to broken in one ripple.”
I wouldn't recommend this book to readers who look for strong leads with whom they can identify. Joy does make a journey that ends in a much better place than where she starts, but I found her to still be frustrating at the end of the book. She still has to improve to become a safe and empowered person. However, I can see the appeal of this book for someone who can appreciate the edginess of the story, the journey and the strength it took  her to embark upon it. This book contains sex, violence, drugs, and abuse, and may not be appropriate for many young adult readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment