Natasha Preston's first book in her "Silence" series (appropriately named) raises a great number of important questions surrounding the moving issue of childhood sexual abuse. Despite a pretty good (albeit cliched) romantic back story to the plot, the writing completely dragged down my overall impression of the book. My kindle edition unfortunately also had quite a number of spelling and grammatical errors and typos. Though this was obviously not a bad feature of the book itself it too detracted from the strikingly good storyline.
Silence follows the stroy of 15 year old Oakley who hasn't uttered a single syllable since the age of five. Her overwhelming love for her 17 year old best friend-stroke-neighbour-stroke-all round good guy Cole encourages her to consider the impact of her silence on others including her family. Oakley, her loving parents and sex-obsessed brother Jasper make up the Farrell family unit. But as the novel makes clear, Oakley's silence isn't the only aspect of their family's lives which doesn't immediately meet the eye ...
Set in England, the social issues which this novel raises really struck home. Moreover, with the recent numerous allegations of child sexual abuse by men in the medial business, this novel is at the heart of heated discussions in the UK. The most important aspect of this novel, I believe, is the exploration of the ways in which sexual predators transform their victims in order to cover up their horrendous acts against human decency. Oakley has her voice physically taken away as a hyperbolic symbolization of the fear in which these victims live. The question it most potently raises is: how does one grow and adapt to deal with normal life after life-destroying incident like this have taken place?
So, once you get past the somewhat awful writing and the lack of suspense in the novel (the author reveals the nature of the cause of Oakley's silence in the first few chapters), Silence develops into a heart-warming, tension filled novel.
What were your thoughts?