Cannonball Read IV: Book #50/52
This book is supposedly a "fictionalized account of a true story", but is listed on Goodreads as nonfiction so I'm not sure EXACTLY what that means, but nonetheless, it's a compelling novel about child abuse. Tuesday (named after actress Tuesday Weld) endures horrific physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her mother after the death of her older sister. Her sister had polio and died after complications from the Hong Kong flu.
Soon after her sister's death, Tuesday's mother receives a brain injury after a fall down the stairs. She's never the same after that and blames Tuesday for killing her other daughter. Tuesday has a few younger brothers who are treated normally, so she just assumes that her mother hates her. She is always being "punished", but never knows what she did to be in trouble. The physical abuse is horrific, but the mental abuse is awful as well. She is forced to stand facing the wall in the hallway whenever she is home. She is usually not fed dinner and if she is, her mother makes these disgusting concoctions to make her eat. She is not allowed to bathe and has to wear old, too small clothes to school so she gets made fun of.
The most disgusting thing? Tuesday tells her friend in Jr. High and ends up running away. Social services makes a house call and completely believes her parents when they say everything is okay. No follow-up calls, just a few months with a counselor who apparently doesn't do any good. Her father is a spineless coward to tries to sneak Tuesday food and sends her to his mother's house every summer to get away, but ultimately he defends his wife.
I did like the closure at the end with Tuesday's mom and dad, but I would have liked to see what her adult brothers thought of the abuse she endured as a child. They were treated normally while their sister was abused. Did they never try and intervene? Were they scared? Did they think it was normal because they were younger and grew up like that?
This book was horrible and hard to read at times, but very interesting. I just wish I knew how much was actually based on the true story. I'd be pretty disappointed to find out that a bunch of things were sensationalized for the sake of a good story.