Friday, April 13, 2007

Story of a Girl--Sara Zarr

Title: Story of a Girl
Author: Sara Zarr
Pages: 192 p.
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.
ISBN: 9780316014533

Deanna was only 13 when her father caught her in the backseat of a car with a 17 year old boy doing things that no father should ever have to see. Three years later they both still carry around the pain of that incident. Deanna's been wrongly labeled a slut at school and deals with daily torment by her gossip-mongering peers. Her father can barely look at her, let alone speak to her in anything other than commands or accusations. She dreams of the day when she has enough money to move out with her brother and his girlfriend and their new baby.

This could be called the Story of Many Girls. Aside from actually being caught in the act by your father, lots of young vulnerable girls have similar first time situations--ones filled with regret that they never truly get over. This novel is so realistic it's almost painful. Interspersed throughout the book is Deanna's own writing, her own Story of a Girl, a girl desperately trying to forget her past. It's not until she learns how to forgive can she truly forget--a lesson everyone in the family needs to learn.

This is definitely a girl book, but might appeal to thoughtful boys. Although sex makes up a large part of the storyline the act itself is never described. The story is more about the emotional aftermath--Deanna's shameful regret, her brother Darren's unplanned pregnancy, her parents dysfunctional reaction to both. I would steer this book towards high schoolers, not because of the sex but because they may have more of an understanding of mistakes and regret. I finished this in just a couple of days because I couldn't put it down.

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