Friday, June 20, 2014

Better than "A Child Called It"

The only reason I discovered Nancy Werlin's The Rules of Survival was because I bought it for a student that was struggling to find a book he enjoyed, and it appeared on

This book reminded me a lot of Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It. While fictional, the story is the retelling of three siblings' experiences with their mother. The main character, Matthew, is recounting the tragic events of their lives for his youngest sister, Emmy, who was too young to remember all of what happened. I'm still not quite sure what exactly was wrong with Nikki Walsh, but cruel and inhumane treatment toward Dave in A Child Called It appears in Werlin's book, too.

This book stands out to me because it highlights dark moments where people feel hopeless, and then it shows small moments of success. It's a trying story, where I found myself feeling angry for Matthew, Callie, and Emmy and wishing that I could intervene.

And at the same time, it's also a story of acting, as readers find out how Matthew and Callie learn to adopt roles of the children their mother wants them to be. Emmy, the youngest of the children, however, persists in defying her mother, and Matthew and Callie sometimes have to pay the price. This book leaves you thinking about relationships and what matters. Could you love someone so much that you are willing to endure physical and mental pain to ensure their survival? Would you be willing to risk your own life for the possibility of a better one?

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