This is a book of abuse, plain and simple, but it is far from being a plain and simple book. The human psyche is represented in black and white, but on cannot say that the book is black and white. There are countless angles, emotions, etc. Those who read this book may get much more than they bargained for in the way of feelings, memories, etc. Be prepared for anything.
Gerlinda is a girl caught in a web of anger, bullying and physical abuse. Her mother is in full blown denial, making it impossible for Gerlinda’s younger siblings to avoid the rage from an anger-filled father.
Gerlinda’s father grew up in WWII Germany. As a young boy, he was indoctrinated into Hitler’s Youth gangs and became a victim of the times. His victimization carried into adulthood due to the lack of assistance in adjusting to the real world, hence, victim to abuser, the cycle continues.
Because of his past, it is hard to hate the father, but there doesn’t seem to be any sense of responsibility on his part towards his wife and children. Or a willingness to learn and grow from past experiences, so one cannot help but to feel negative feelings towards him.
His rage had not outlets except his children, especially Gerlinda who feels protective towards her siblings. She throws herself in front of them, thus taking the hardest kicks and punches.
His wife’s way of coping was to hide behind a high wall of denial, thus thrusting even more grief upon the children.
Gerlinda’s life is further complicated by constant bullying at school by both girls and boys, but you have to marvel at her survival skills. There is a solution to just about every problem, even though some solutions are illegal, like shoplifting.
There is nothing positive or negative about the ending, which pretty much echoes what I originally stated. Neither black and white nor plain and simple.
I commend the author for writing a book so rich in the truth.
Reviewed by Donna Wolf, compassionate bibliophile