Title: Through the Cracks
Author: Honey Brown
Opening lines: ‘…In the space of one week Adam grew strong enough to stop him…’
Blurb: Adam Vander has grown tall enough, strong enough, to escape his abusive father. Emerging from behind the locked door of their rambling suburban home, Adam steps into a world he knows little of.
My thoughts: It was a sheer coincidence that I started reading THROUGH THE CRACKS the very week that Daniel Morcombe’s killer was sentenced and the details were on every news service across Australia, so it certainly influenced my reading of the novel. I was overwhelmed by the concept that child abusers will always be with us and what can we do to keep our children and grandchildren safe. THROUGH THE CRACKS tells the story of two teens that have both escaped abusive childhoods. The story is told through the eyes of Adam, aged fifteen, which is a very clever ploy because this man child has been locked away for 10 years and his only contact with the human world has been with his abusive father Joe. He is not retarded in any way, although for a while there I thought he might have been. He is just totally innocent in the ways of the world and has a child’s mind as he has never been educated or socialised. So after 10 years confinement Adam finally locks Joe in the same prison that Adam has been previously confined, and ignorance of medication, and fear of trickery, means that he doesn’t give Joe the heart pills that Joe needs to survive. Adam now has freedom but doesn’t know what to do with it, in fact he is even too worried to even leave the yard at first. Help comes in the form of Billy who comes to visit Adam’s father to swim in the pool and finds Adam and Joe’s dead body; Billy had often visited Joe but had no idea that Adam was imprisoned there. Billy realises what Alan has gone through and tells him to avoid the Police because they will put him into the kind of juvenile care which Billy had been in and suffered abuse at the hands of a priest. Adam agrees to follow Billy. So the story begins.
THROUGH THE CRACKS is a story of survival, but it is not a pretty story, it is dark, violent (but not dripping in gore), gritty and heart wrenching; but there is hope that the system can be beaten, that if victims are empowered, and with strong support, they can rise above the terrible things that have happened. Child abuse is not a happy subject; in fact many of us prefer not to know about it – not because we don’t care but because we feel so helpless. What helped me is that the story is told by Adam and he can only tell the reader what he can see even though he may not understand what he is seeing. The reader understands the clues though even if Adam hadn’t, so author Honey Brown really had to use the ‘show don’t tell technique’ of storytelling and she did it perfectly. For instance the reader sees the dark side of Billy, but Adam only describes the helpful and protective Billy but in such a way as you know better than Adam. THROUGH THE CRACKS is not a nice read, it is not an easy read, but it is a must read, and as the title suggests sometimes when looking at the big picture authorities and welfare groups might unintentionally miss some cracks – and it is these cracks that the innocent are falling through.
Rating: C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.
For more about the author – Click Here
With thanks to Penguin Books and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.
Through the Cracks is book # 17 for AWW2014