Fictional but written like a memoir, this story smacks of reality and with all my heart I wish it was. Not because of the horrors that go on in Marjorie’s house, but because she escapes.
We know from the beginning that she escapes- it’s written in the style of a memoir, after all- but the joy (and the heartbreak and the inspiration) is in the journey. It’s a journey of broken people doing broken things but also broken people doing all they can to fix and be fixed.
Marjorie is an inspiration. Her determination and stubbornness are a double-edged sword: keeping her locked in her dysfunctional lifestyle but giving her the strength to finally break free. Her speech is enchanting and I wonder how much time Merullo spent making it absolutely perfect.
The surrounding cast of characters are appropriately imperfect and beautifully crafted. There are tiny glimpses of goodness or humanity in every single “evil” character. There are glimpses of selfishness or brokenness in every “good” character. Nobody is perfect and everybody believes they are doing the right thing.
Although this is by no means a Christian book, Marjorie’s journey from believing in a god of vengeance and cruelty to a God of love and mercy is integral to her character’s journey. Her reflections on spiritual things are genuine and nothing is forced in her slow, careful change in worldview. It is a gentle, gradual change and always begins inwardly before showing itself.
My favorite moment? The man working at the parking garage in Boston. I wept like a little girl.
I pray every day for the kids in an urban version of this town and this situation. I pray that they have the strength to be get out. This book was a beautiful insight and an inspiration for me.
So why 4 out of 5 stars? I don’t know. I usually reserve 5 stars for books that I absolutely must rush out and buy. But there is nothing rushed about this book. Maybe, after mulling it over for a few weeks or months, I’ll up it to 5 and go buy the book already. 🙂