This isn’t exactly a happy read, but it is a stark reminder of the reality of the insidious nature of abuse. It also paints a vivid picture of how quickly people make assumptions when it comes to children with behavioural issues.
A victim of a never-ending circle of terror at home and bullying at school, June is too afraid to speak up and say something. She is teased, blamed for things she hasn’t done, over-fed and spends 24/7 in a state of perpetual fear.
So it isn’t really a surprise when she starts acting out. First it is simply sticking up for herself and then her behaviour becomes more aggressive. No one seems to question why?
There are quite a few people through the years who know there is something not right, but they never act on their gut feelings or suspicions.
June feels betrayed by her father, for not seeing what is going on. A deep well of inner rage eventually leads to a tragedy that changes everyone’s lives forever.
The story is presented in a before and after scenario. Before the event and after the event. It is often an uncomfortable read, because this is how many children have to live. Society is full of silent victims, who spend their time just wishing for someone to rescue them and at the same time being afraid anyone will.
I liked the fact Heathfield didn’t try to make it a comfortable read or a read with some sunny funny moments. With that in mind I was a little surprised by the ending, I think I would have preferred the full throttle and consequences scenario.
Definitely an author I will be revisiting.