family by Micol Ostow
Review by: Lauren
Copy from: Publisher
Amazon Associate: Buy book, we get small percentage
Summary: i have always been broken.
i could have. died.
and maybe it would have been better if i had.
It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.
Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.
Review: Maybe it’s weird, but I’ve always been fascinated by these type of things. Normally it gears more toward school shootings but especially after reading John Belushi is Dead, I’ve become a bit more fascinated by people like Charles Manson. In family, Henry is a charismatic man that tells these people exactly what they want and need to hear. He talks of a life where everything is shared, where there is no past, where there is only the now and the only family they need is his…forget about the rest, it doesn’t matter. It sure sounds good, especially to Melinda, whose “Uncle” abused her and mom let it happen, never saying a word, never saving her.
It might sound crazy or messed up, but reading this book, you do get to see inside Melinda’s head. You see the reasons she goes, the reasons she stays, the reasons she does certain things. Like she said, she is broken. I think she can be fixed though and I think she makes steps towards that…even choosing to fix herself instead of letting other people rip her apart even more.
I loved the verse in this book as it felt more realistic to what Melinda would actually be thinking. Sometimes it’s short thoughts, sometimes longer. The episodes even jump a bit so you see a little of what is to come and then go back to what is happening in the now. It’s one thing that keeps you reading as you can see exactly what’s to come…but how does it end?
Really, the one complaint I had is that Melinda repeats certain words or phrases a lot. It makes sense, just like the verse did…it makes it seem more real and lets readers focus on certain things. However, it can get a bit repetitive and annoying after awhile as you continue reading as it’s a pretty constant thing.
Regardless, family is an excellent book. It deals with a dark side of the world but still pulls you in, makes you think.