Review: Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

Filed in 1 Star , Draconismoi , featured , Review Posted on June 19, 2013 @ 7:00 am 0 comments

Some Quiet PlaceFormat Read: eARC from Netgalley.
Genre: YA, Magical Realism.
Release Date: June 1, 2013.
Number of pages: 350 pages.
Publisher: Flux.
Formats Available: ebook, paperback.
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Powells, Book Depository, Amazon, Author.
Book Blurb:

I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

My Thoughts:

Fuck this book. No seriously, FUCK this book.

Did you know that exposure to violence in early childhood negatively impacts brain development? I spend so much of my time working with victims and trying to legally extricate families from lethal situations, that I often forget the science behind abuse, domestic violence, and trauma is not widely understood.

Some Quiet Place opens with scenes of domestic violence – and I was instantly intrigued. This surrealist portrayal of emotive synesthesia as a reaction to dealing with a hellish homelife could provide a unique perspective on issues of child abuse and domestic violence. If this had been handled with any kind of skill or sensitivity, I’d have gotten copies for my office to give to teenage survivors. Because sometimes it is easier to accept guidance from fictional worlds than this one.

However, it became almost instantly clear to me that the only experience this author has had with abuse is perpetuating it. She basically just tossed the child abuse in for shits and giggles. To underscore her point. (Oh look how emotionless she is, just sitting there while her mother is beaten up, and not panicking when being stabbed by her drunken piece of shit father.) A shortcut for character development that spits on  actual survivors of domestic violence, and will only serve further damage the precarious mental state of actual teenage victims. Here are the highlights:

  1. Elizabeth’s lack of a fear response to her father’s rages infuriates him. He decides that his inability to control her through violence means she is not actually his child. (Abusers commonly react lethally to delusions of infidelity. Every time he expresses this belief, and the rest of the family supports it, the chance of Elizabeth surviving the book decreases.)
  2. Elizabeth’s mother blames Elizabeth for the lethality risk in the home. She agrees that Elizabeth cannot actually be her child, because her child would be more emotive. (PTSD? Autism? What’re those? Clearly I have an alien changeling that is responsible for all the problems in my life.)
  3. Elizabeth’s older brother buys into the belief that Elizabeth isn’t really “family,” thus excusing himself from any obligation to protect her. (Because when you move out and your baby sister is getting the shit beaten out of her on a daily basis, you don’t have her move in with you. Or give her a lift to the doctor. Or talk to her teachers. Or call the police. Or ask neighbors/acquaintances to keep an eye on her.)
  4. No one in Tiny Farm Town, USA is aware of the blatantly lethal violence in the home. Elizabeth is stabbed by her father – and the police do nothing. She is  abducted, tortured, and nearly killed by her sociopathic classmates because they find her lack of affect as amusing as her father does infuriating – and the school blows it off. Because her obvious injuries? Her fault. She’s “clumsy” and “outdoorsy” and “in a gang.” (Blow me. In a small town, everyone knows who is beating on whom. If a girl was regularly going to school with signs of strangulation, children’s services would have her ass in foster care before you can say “termination of parental rights.”)

I canot fathom the insipid cruelty of a writer who basically penned a novel using magic to justify beating, torturing, and attempting to murder a teenage girl. Throughout the damn book, you expect/hope someone will absolve Elizabeth of the “responsibility” for the violence, or stand up to defend her right to not, you know, be murdered.

Never happens. Rather, it’s the opposite. The further you get into the book, the more woo-woo magic justification is granted to the entire goddamn town for passively or actively participating in the torture of a neurologically atypical child.

As I said, fuck this book. No one should read it. Ever.

I give Some Quiet Place 1 star. Only because the writing itself was largely competent. Even if the story it self was utterly repugnant.

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Draconismoi


Draconismoi is a Legal Aid Attorney out on the frozen tundra. After two weeks of -30F, she started telling people she moved to Alaska because she loves the indoors. Right now you’ll find her curled up under all the blankets she owns, surrounded by a pile of books. Every so often she emerges from her cave (when there is food) and wonders how she’ll justify prolonging this behavior once the temperature rises and the sun returns.

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