Ok, I am going to do a few different things with this review.
First, I am going to cut any suspense and tell you straight out, I loved this book. Now love is a weird thing, because this is a very sad, moving, terrible story, and for the most part, a lot of it is not enjoyable to read. But, Rivers tells this story without being heavy-handed — if someone told me it was about “bullying” I might have skipped it as a hot-topic issue kind of book.
Also, I am going to say that it is not a book for everyone — you can tell that by reading even a couple of other reviews. But here’s the thing, the “dark” humor some people fault is really what helped me through what I found to be a compelling, beautifully told, tale. Kammie is a survivor, and she got that way by having a sense of humor in the face of grave circumstances. I laughed out loud at her wild imaginings while trapped, each ending with a version of, “but I can’t, because I’m stuck. In a well.” Her sarcasm especially appealed to me, and I know my daughters will appreciate this as well when they read it.
Kammie’s story is important because it is difficult and filled with despair, but there is (literally) a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. And her ability to see that light, despite all the muck that rains down on her (literally and figuratively), is a triumph of human spirit, and a lesson in perseverance and hope for the rest of us.