Apparently the COVID-19 reading crash happened at my house in April. I wasn’t nearly as productive of a reader in April as I was the previous month. I noticed it happening. I just couldn’t focus on books and spent much more time watching TV.
Despite this reading slump, I read 10 books in April. Of those, I gave four—one nonfiction and three fiction—perfect grades.
Interestingly, all of these books are about dark topics and were difficult to read. Maybe the the books I chose are another reason I didn’t read quite as much as usual.
Any book about child abuse is difficult to read. This book is about FBI Special Agent Jeff Rinek, who was known during his 30 years on the force for having a special talent for getting child predators to confess.
Rinek worked hundreds of investigations involving crimes against children during his career. But what struck me more than his ability to catch predators was the toll Rinek’s career took on his own mental health and the harm it did to his family.
I had to look it up to determine if this book was real or fiction. It’s fiction, but it’s written in a diary format that makes it seem real.
The book is the first-person account of a girl named Alice’s drug addiction. Alice’s addiction started innocently enough. She was served a soft drink laced with LSD at a party. She had such a great time with the popular kids that she decided there was no harm in just trying other drugs, just to see what they were like. Soon Alice is an addict, running away from home, doing unspeakable things to get a fix and leaving her family to pick up the pieces every time she tries to get clean.
Vanessa Wye, 15, develops a relationship with her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane. At least she thinks it’s a relationship, a true love… sometimes.
As Vanessa gets older and more worldly she begins to question if what she thought was a relationship all these years actually was sexual abuse. She struggles with what Jacob, who she’s still in contact with, is to her as he is accused of sexual abuse by another former student.
The other victim reaches out to Vanessa and she has to decide whether to stay silent and cling to the belief that she was an equal participant in the relationship or admit what she’s denied all these years—that the man she thought was her first true love actually was her abuser.
This book starts with a 14-year-old girl, Gloria Ramirez, escaping her rapist after a brutal Valentine’s Day night that she barely survived.
Gloria, nearly dead, somehow runs to Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house. Mary Rose meets her on the front porch, her own young daughter inside. Then, when Gloria’s attacker shows up, the pregnant Mary Rose holds him at gunpoint in the front yard until police arrive.
But justice doesn’t come easily in 1976 rural Texas. Mary Rose is criticized for protecting the hispanic girl and risking her own family. She is condemned in the court of public opinion and threatened by the men in town. Even her husband doesn’t appreciate how she saved Gloria’s life. But the strongest women in town somehow find a way to ban together and support each other.
There they are, my favorite books of April. I hope you find something here to read and love. As always, Happy Reading!