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Testimony by Anita Shreve



Book Reviews (Adult)

Testimony by Anita Shreve
London : Little, Brown, 2008

"A complaint has been made to gardai after children were allegedly handcuffed and beaten by fellow pupils on a school trip.
Parents have complained that children from Griffeen Valley Educate Together School in Dublin were seriously bullied by classmates on a trip to a Gaelteacht in Do Donegal”.
This news report in the Irish media, in June 2013, makes clear how an incident linked to a school can have ramifications away beyond the original participants.

In Testimony, a University of Vermont researcher is piecing together the stories of an underage victim of sexual assault, the participants in her rape and the wider implications of the incident.

While the prose was simple and readable, Anita Shreve set challenges for the reader by using first, second and third party accounts from almost twenty persons and the use of present and past tenses throughout. Form me the most confusing elements were a boy named Rob, another named Robles and then J. Dot. As the story is one of overlapping mishaps eliminating the conjunction of these names would have helped me, as I read the book over a non-sequential series of sittings.

Mike’s mishap on the black ice leads to Silas’s entry to Avery Academy, but also to Silas’s mother’s involvement with Mike, which was the catalyst for Silas’s drink-fuelled participation in the reported sexual shenanigans. The saddest part of the story was the impact on the star-crossed lovers, Silas and Noelle.

Reviewed by a Kilrush Book Club Member.

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