Book Title: Shadow and Bone
Book Author: Sara Taylor
Page Count: 304
Publishing Date: August 1st, 2017
Synopsis: I didn’t realize my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong. As we made our way from Virginia to California, returning to the places where she d lived as a child in foster care and as a teenager on the run, repaying debts and keeping promises, I learned who she was in her life-before-me and the secrets she had kept even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldn’t forget the home we’d left behind, couldn’t deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business.
This enigmatic pilgrimage takes them back to various stages of Alex s mother s life, each new state prompting stories and secrets. Together they trace back through a life of struggle and adventure to put to rest unfinished business, to heal old wounds and to search out lost friends. This is an extraordinary story of a life; a stunning exploration of identity and an authentic study of the relationship between a mother and her child.
Mini Review (DNF):
The synopsis for this book really drew me in. I was hopeful for a self-discovery/ coming of age story for Alex (13-14 years old) and Alex’s mother. The first 50 pages were beginning to offer just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, when I reached pages 55-57, I could not finish the book.
Of what I read so far, I found out that Alex’s mother dragged Alex out of bed, in the middle of the night, to take off after a fight with Alex’s father. The two drove for a while and decided to stop at a road side diner and motel. Alex ‘s mother picked up a waitressing job, leaving Alex alone during the day. Before Alex’s mother had decided to take the job and stay, Alex had snuck over to the post office and sent a cryptic postcard to their father letting him know that Alex and Alex’s mother were alright. After about 3 months of living there, the cops showed up. Was it because of the postcard? No one knows, but Alex assumed.
So, they took off again and Alex’s mother found a run down apartment to rent, and decided to stay and put Alex back in school. It is here we I saw the beginnings of Alex’s coming age. Alex admitted that they had never quite felt like a boy or a girl, leading me to believe Alex to be gender fluid (which is great by the way, since we are only beginning to see gender fluid characters in literature). Alex started having self-discovery feelings of desire that they tried to address (again, part of coming of age as a teenager). Up until now, the story had been intriguing and interesting.
It was when Alex decided to take off by themself to take a bus to another location so they could send their father another postcard when the story started to go downhill for me. Alex kept addressing feelings of wanting to go back with their father and not knowing why their mother practically kidnapped them with no explanation. They sent their postcard, and ended up having to hitchhike back to the apartment. Alex’s first ride was a pleasant one with a caring woman. The second one is where I could not continue.
(Rape Trigger Warning)
Alex gets in a car with an older man, who proceeds to pull his genitals out of his pants. He locks Alex in the car and pretty much forces them (Alex being only 14 I believe) to perform oral sex. The writer went in to graphic detail about the entire scene, and it made me sick to my stomach.
So that scene, along with the fact that Alex’s mom pretty much kidnapped them, and had apparently been planning it for a while, with no explanation, just turned me off of the story. That graphic scene has made me not want to read anything further. The author had a great writing style, and I was drawn in for the first 50 pages, despite feeling awkward about the “kidnap”, but I did not agree with the choice to describe the forced oral sex scene.
This is my personal preference and opinion that I do not enjoy scenes like this. If you have read this and enjoyed it, I would love to hear your thoughts! I had thought about continuing past the scene, but I was so turned off by it, I just can’t bring myself to keep reading. Let me know in the comments if you would have DNF’d a book after a scene like that too.
Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing me with this free review copy in exchange for my honest review!
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