Carolyn leans forward, her face worried. ‘What makes you say that?’ There’s a hesitation in her voice that stings me.
‘You don’t believe me!’ I spit the words out at her, then look away, twisting my hands together to keep them from trembling.”
Kendra is battling with herself, her past and her memories. She has a secret past that she’s only recently been remember anything about, and even then she can’t remember everything. She was abused as a child, repeatedly, but cannot remember the identity of her abuser. Now every man that she has known for a long time is under consideration and she believes she is being followed. With a self absorbed mother and a father with too much on his plate she takes refuge with others. Her therapist Carolyn, her art teacher, family friend Sandy and Meghan; a new friend who may become more. But they sometimes aren’t even and Kendra turns to cutting to help ease the pain of her past.
I knew very little about Scars before I started reading – I knew it was centred around self harm and dealing with pain but didn’t realise other things featured heavily. Scars is not just about self harm – it is about love, homosexuality, family, relationships, abuse, therapy and art. There are many things that gather together and cause Kendra to self harm but Scars shows us the reasoning behind her pain and the other things that are happening to Kendra at the time.
Scars is not an easy read. It takes you on an emotional rollercoaster which really got to me. I found myself shouting and swearing at the book in many places – usually because of Kendra’s parents. Her mum was a nightmare – devoid of showing the care and support that Kendra needed because she was too self absorbed. Then her dad was ok but really wound me up when he had a talk to Kendra about her sexuality. I was swearing at that point, as if its a choice whether to be gay or not? Utterly ridiculous! However I think it wound me up more because that is a reaction that people I know have had and one that I can imagine happening!
Other characters really helped Kendra a lot though and you can see the support group that she builds up works well for her. I loved Meghan so much, she was strong but scared too and for good reason. I understood exactly why she did the things she did and I really loved that she and Kendra found and helped each other so much.
Art features a lot within Scars, its a way of Kendra facing her fears and her past and its something she enjoys a lot. Its something that has featured in a few books that I have read recently and I really enjoy reading about it. I loved the way Kendra fed her heart into her art and how it was yet another way for the hideous relationship with her mother to come to light. I couldn’t believe her mothers reactions to her art and I felt so sorry for her to have her work so badly critiqued like that!
I believe books like Scars need to be written and read. Child abuse, cutting, stalking and homosexuality are all issues that should be addressed in some way early on in life. They are real things and we cant shelter children from these things too much. If Scars opens up readers eyes to the big bad world it can only be a good thing because it is important, if the reader can handle it. I cant say I enjoy reading about these things but I understand the importance of books raising these issues.
I know many people would refrain from reading this or allowing their children to read it but I am so glad its out there on the market for those who know its an important topic. I do think that the vivid, shocking imagery on the front of the book is perhaps a bit too in your face and will seriously put people off but this book does hold the shock value a lot.
Scars grips you and doesn’t let you go. Kendra can’t remember who her abuser was so there’s an element of crime and mystery to the book as well as the psychological and emotional aspects. I really couldn’t wait to read the next page and wanted to get to the end to see if Kendra got her happy ever after – or as near one she could have! I loved the book, even with the heavy issues raised and I really recommend it if you think you can handle the topics.
Scars was published in the US in May 2011 by Westside Books. My copy was purchased from the kindle store.