FICTION

These Gentle Wounds

336p. Flux. May 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780738740270.
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up—Gordie has spent his formative years in an abusive home. One morning while his half-brother, Kevin, is away visiting his own father, Gordie's mother drugs him and his other two siblings and drives into a river. He is the only one who escapes. The story begins five years after the incident, and the protagonist now lives with Kevin and Kevin's father. Gordie suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and struggles to live one day at a time. With the loving support of Kevin, he manages to keep his grades up, play on the school's hockey team, and meet a girl. While Gordie is trying to determine what "normal" is, his biological father comes back into his life—this time toting a younger son who shows all the signs of being abused. This rocks Gordie's world and brings him to the edge of reality where he has to decide to fight or flee. Dunbar's debut novel is a contemporary piece of fiction that realistically depicts PTSD from the perspective of a teenage boy. The young man's emotional episodes are seamlessly woven into the narrative, and the language is appropriate for the story's overall heft and emulates the vocabulary of typical young adults. The dark tone reflects the past that Gordie is struggling to overcome.—Jeni Tahaney, Duncanville High School Library, TX

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