Monday, May 3, 2021

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley



Reviewed by Lisa


Ten-tear-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom's boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della's own wolf--her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della's world turns so far upside down, it feels like it's shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she's been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it's time to be loud.


This story is told from Della’s point of view, who is unaware of what had been happening to Suki while they lived with their mother’s boyfriend. When something so bad happens that they are removed from the home and put in foster care, things seem fine at first. Then Suki starts to break down. 


    If you have read any of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s other books, you know she manages to create a powerful emotional impact on the reader. This book is certainly no exception. She manages to take a painful subject (child sexual abuse) and turn it into a moving story filled with compassion and infused with humor. You will get hooked in the first few pages, and will want to know more about Della and her purple high-tops and creative cursing. You will admire Suki’s fierce determination to take care of her sister, and worry about her when she starts to withdraw.


This is an important story that needs to be told in order to bring some light into an area that is too often hidden in hushed whispers and shame. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley blew me away with her writing skills and her honesty. When you finish this book, I hope you exclaim like I did, “Well, snow!”

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