True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik

True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik
(Grindhouse Press, 2020)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik is a difficult book to read, for sure, but what’s so remarkable about it and why I continued reading is how the author navigates this brutal material. There’s a point in the book where I think many readers will have to decide for themselves if they want to continue reading, and it was at that point I prepared myself grudgingly for where I thought the book was going. The book defied my expectations and went somewhere else. Once my expectations were reset, I thought I knew exactly how the novel was going to end, only to have Kolesnik complicate and deepen the larger story in an insightful and moving way.

The book is full of insights, including one that really got to me: “you can be the best damn parent in the world Monday through Saturday but if you hit your kid on Sunday, that’s all the kid will remember. Your hand and the hurt, the anger in your eyes.”

Kolesnik’s exploration of trauma is not comfortable material, but it’s not gratuitous, either. There are no easy answers here about how to deescalate and interrupt cycles of abuse, let alone recovery from trauma, but there is value in examining these topics so closely and with such insight. Highly recommended, if you can handle the content.

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