My first audio book review on the website. Big breath of fresh air here to be actively writing again, but the book itself is terrifying.
Down to business.
I love the flow of the novel, though in a few tiny places it lags for a bit but not long enough to leave me bored.
The main plot of the book is that Suzette is a stay at home mother to her daughter, Hanna; a school aged, nonverbal child. They’ve run tests for years, seen multiple doctors, and yet there no explanation as to “why” Hannah won’t speak. It becomes clear that it is more of a won’t speak, than can’t.
But it doesn’t stop there. Though they’ve tried to integrate Hanna, she has been expelled from schools. Suzette loves her daughter, but there is a clear tension between them. Though silent, Hanna has very loud opinions about her mother. But the father never sees that side of Hanna. He only sees his little princess and her overwhelming love towards him.
Suzette is convinced that her daughter hates her, and she isn’t wrong. The book circles around the day to day life between Suzette and Hanna. The frustrated one way conversations from Suzette, and internal dialogue on Hanna’s end make it very clear how Hanna feels about her mother. It puts into perspective the struggles of a parent with a nonverbal child.
This book made me think about the things that I say to my daughter. The sentences that I’m not sure she understands, or the comments I make to friends and family about her. It makes me question how my words impact her opinion of me, and her own sense of self. It’s definitely put my words into check as my sponge of a child soaks up everything that I say. (as well as what others say)
Mostly, this book makes me relieved that I know that my daughter loves me. That she is glad of my presence in her life. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be Suzette as the book takes a very dark, twisted turn into the depths of severely disturbed child mind. Children are more capable and sneaky than people give them credit for.
The narrator, Gabra Zackman is excellent. She creates clearly decipherable voices for each character, and not only that but they have their own character. I would love to hear another novel narrated by her.