pub date: September 14, 2010
publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
appeals: realistic fiction, contemporary, abuse, based on a true story
content: sexual abuse
I read this book almost two months ago now, and wish I'd written my review then instead of now. Since I waited so long, the details and specifics of the story are hazy and I don't have as much to write as I did at the beginning of May. Which sucks because I thought this was an amazing book.
Hush affected me for weeks after I finished. I talked about it to everyone because I was so horrified by what had happened to the protagonist's childhood friend and many other children in Borough Park. I appreciated the strength of the protag in writing this story and not hiding it or ignoring what was going on in her own community.
Hush wasn't written with beautiful descriptions or a fast-paced plot. Parts were too long and somewhat slow. At times the writing was child-like. But the story told was honest and heart-felt and scary. The story grabbed me and broke my heart. It is powerful. One that I think needs to be read.
Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last detail and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
A richly detailed and nuanced book, one of both humor and depth, understanding and horror, this story explains a complex world that remains an echo of its past, and illuminates the conflict between yesterday's traditions and today's reality.