TW: Child abuse, violence
‘Girl A, ‘ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’
Book 8 of my Goodreads reading challenge
A story about horrific child abuse and neglect was never going to be easy – and Girl A really isn’t a fun and games read. However, it is very good, devastating and hopeful too. I found the writing really accessible and enjoyed the fact that it held a lot back and wasn’t framed in an exploitative way. In fact, the full details of what Girl A and her siblings went through at the hands of their mother and father isn’t revealed until well into the book, and we peel away at it bit by bit, which I liked.
Lex Gracie doesn’t dwell an awful lot on her family if she can help it. Identified as a teenager as Girl A, the daughter who managed to escape the clutches of her parents’ House of Horrors, she’s spent her life post-Gracie family trying to put it all behind her. By concentrating on her brilliant career, she’s been able in part to live a pretty decent life. But when her mother dies in prison and she’s named Executor of her will, Lex is forced to return to their hometown and sort out her affairs – which includes deciding what to do about the now abandoned house. Can she – and her siblings – make something positive out of their pain and suffering?
Via flashback we learn the extent of what happened to the children, how it all came to be and how they all fared when they finally escaped. And, of course, what happened to their cruel and neglectful parents.
Girl A is an interesting study on childhood trauma and familial relationships, and I enjoyed it for what it was. Again, you can’t go in expecting a light romp because the themes are horrible. However, if tales of survival are your bag, I think you’ll enjoy Lex’s story as she faces a few home truths on her journey to recovery. (I so hate that phrase but couldn’t find a decent replacement, sorry).