It has been a week of little or no reading and this book was read over several days and I dont think I did it justice like that.
The book took me back to my school days and it brought into focus how vicious young children can be. Elaine is just one of a group and how she is ostracized, humiliated, mentally tortured by the machinations of three very young children is unbelievable. What is also unbelievable is how we want always to be accepted and admired and how we are ever willing to put up with a lot of heartache in order that we can be part of a pack and not a solitary person. What mental trauma is endured just to be accepted by all is one of the highlights of the story.
This was not a happy, easy read for me. It was tough and I found it difficult when I saw how Elaine's parents seemed oblivious to their daughter's plight. It is true that Elaine kept things well hidden and always overt, but I do hope my parenting skills were better and I was more in a position to protect my own children, rather than leave them unguarded in situations which were way beyond their comprehension or understanding. I started questioning myself as to whether I was guilty of the same sins of being blind and I was very uncomfortable with the feeling it brought about!
The story goes on gradually into Elaine's adult life and her success as a painter as well as a mother of two girls.
The book is an introspective one and one that would make you think. I've only read The Handmaid's Tale before this one and that was dystopian. It was also not an easy read but it was certainly easier than this one.