Tish brings a knife to the breakfast table and threatens to use it on her stepfather if he tries to come into her room again.  Her mother, working at the sink, does her best to ignore the conversation, in which the stepfather moves from mockery to threats.  Tish carries the knife in her boots to school.  When her gym teacher insists on her removing her boots she begins to scream uncontrollably, is sent to the principal, and, unable to tell her secret, runs away.  She finally makes her way to a friend's father, a lawyer, who listens to her story and assures her of legal protection, though as the story ends, Tish has a lot of decisions left to make, and a long way to go before she feels safe and healed.


This edgy story pulls no punches.  Told from Tish's point of view, it offers few explanations and little commentary, letting events unfold with a matter-of-factness that deepens their horror.  Deftly, Voigt enables the reader to grasp the dilemma of a young girl whose family ignores her abuse, and who has learned to see all the adults in authority as potential threats.  The complicity of her family is equally horrifying, but similarly understandable as the response of people who themselves feel threatened and resort to denial.  A hard book to read, but rich with insights.



Place Published

New York



Page Count