Wednesday, June 13, 2012

#BookReview: Hand Me Down - Melanie Thorne

For those that have read Bastard Out of Carolina, Roseflower Creek or Ellen Foster, Hand Me Down will be a familiar read..  Unlike the previous titles, Hand Me Down is set in the present.  That doesn't make the story any easier to stomach.

Liz has never had the best home life.  Her mother stayed with her abusive, alcoholic father longer than she should have.  When she finally got the courage to leave, she entered into a relationship with a younger man that she met at a church function.  It turns out that her new boyfriend, Terrance, has a record of sexual abuse and one of the terms of his parole is that he can't live in the same house as any minor females.  Any mother with common sense and concern for her children would have put Terrance out immediately, but Liz's mother does no such thing and at the age of 15, Liz has to figure out where to live.

As she bounces from house to house, I found myself getting more and more disgusted with her mother.  What kind of woman puts her own child out so that she can maintain her relationship with her bed warmer? Ironically, her mother works at an abuse victims' organization, but fails to see the advances Terrance makes toward Liz.

It's not until Liz moves to Utah with her Aunt Tammy does she realize what family is supposed to look like and how they're supposed to act.  Perhaps jealous of Liz's happiness, her mother plots to get her back to California, though not to live with her, but just close enough to keep an eye on her when she feels like being bothered.

Thorne did a good job of getting the reader on Liz's side and keeping them there.  I wanted to slap some sense into both of Liz's parents.  Her father only wanted her around for the child support he thought he could collect if she lived with him and her mother only wanted her around to babysit.  It was really difficult to watch Liz's interactions with her mother because I could never quite figure out her angle.  She said she loved Liz, but did nothing that would lead you to believe she really did.  And if there was no room for her in her life, why not let her go live with someone that wanted her?  Even the adults that were supposed to have themselves together were screwballs.  This is one of those reads where the kids were definitely the smartest people in the room.

Published: April 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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