Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting Somewhere-Beth Neff

Getting Somewhere

Beth Neff

Viking, Jan 19 2012, $17.99

ISBN 9780670012558

The four juvenile offenders (Sarah, Jenna, Lauren, and Cassie) were given a choice between detention in a prison or working on a farm to learn responsibility and accountability for themselves and others. Each joined the experimental program at an organic farm with no electronic devices allowed run by Grace and assisted by Ellie and Donna.

As the teens work on the farm and attend group and individual therapy sessions, each tells a similar tale of horror of neglect and abuse; none had a childhood beyond survival. Sarah, Jenna, and Cassie begin to heal by letting go of their anger as they become friends. However, Lauren’s rage remains stratospheric and her need to destroy others like others destroyed her remains intense. She schemes to insure the experiment fails and her farmer overseers punished just like she has been.

The magnificent seven make for an insightful look at the psyche of the battered angry teens and the motivations of the adults. Rotating perspective, readers see the inner essence of each of the seven especially the negativity that their respective pasts haunting them; the child is the teen and adult. Although the climax seems melodramatically forced and obvious relatively early on, readers will appreciate this profound look at the souls of the battered who work hard at surviving.

Harriet Klausner

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