Penguin Random House
July 31, 2017
Penguin (AU YR)
What a fantastic and gripping read this is! This one had to be read over two nights but it was a wrench to leave it halfway!
Ily (Iliad) Piper is a young woman who has had to face many emotional upheavals in her life and now as a young woman is dealing with the backlash of them. Her father is in jail after years of physical and mental abuse of her mother, Eve, and indeed Ily herself. Ily is living in Darwin now with her mother and her Nan but is sullen and resentful of the past few years when she has been sent away to boarding schools. She doesn’t realise that this was a safety precaution on the part of her mum and nan, she is just pissed off with them both. The only thing she enjoys at her new school is her rather quirky friend Mia and her Art which she hopes to turn into a career. Then she hooks up with Jared – self-obsessed, angry and a control freak, just like her father. Despite all advice from friends including the annoying next door neighbour, Indigenous boy Max, Ily pursues the relationship with Jared and falls into the same trap as her mother had done before her.
This is a brilliant and insightful exploration of the nature of domestic abuse of women and how behaviours become patterns. Fortunately for Ily she has ‘look outs’ on her side. Her mum, her nan, Max, Mia and more are there at exactly the right moments to protect her both from Jared and from her father, recently released from jail.
There are some sensitive aspects to this which may preclude it from your secondary collection such as sexual activity, violence and profanity but truly it is such an exceptional book that examines such a topical issue I would still urge you to consider it, even with provisos.
Highly recommended for mature readers from around sixteen years upwards.
Empowering Resources is an independent publishing company dedicated to informing, discussing and enabling both children and adults to engage in ‘meaningful dialogue’ about important social issues.
Aleesah Darlison is an award-winning author (and resident of the beautiful Sunshine Coast!) who is unafraid to tackle topics which will raise awareness and be thought-provoking reads.
Domestic abuse is one of those issues which is so prevalent in our society that it is completely frightening and it is no wonder that so many voices are being raised to address this insidious and often fatal flaw in our so-called civilised modern world.
Running from the Tiger is a powerful and purposeful combination of author’s voice and topical problem which could be shared, with caution, with any person trapped in a cycle of abuse.
Eleven year old Ebony is the oldest of three girls. Mum is expecting another baby and Dad, who does not deserve that appellation is a misogynistic drunken no-hoper who takes his inadequacies out on his family. In particular, Ebony cops the brunt of his physical and mental abuse. Isolated from true friendship and with no one to share her frightening home life (her mother being totally ineffectual) Ebony suffers in silence.
But when new girl Teena arrives at their small country school, Ebony finds her first real friend. Both girls have secrets and both girls discover in each other strength which grows as their trust and friendship deepens.
Aside from the actual violence of Ebony’s father, a disturbing thing is the fact that to her community this ongoing abuse is invisible. Even those who might suspect – or indeed, Teena’s father who confirms her tragic circumstances – do nothing to help her. Having experienced this type of situation first-hand I would urge anyone who suspects that something may be amiss with a child or even adult should report their concerns to appropriate agencies.
With Teena’s support Ebony begins to find her voice and resilience to stop her father. I would have liked to see him hauled away to some kind of Azkaban personally.
This is realistic fiction at its grittiest and most confronting. I suggest that this be reserved for senior primary students and be prepared to debrief if necessary. I can certainly see it being used by guidance officers for children who are coming to terms with such home situations and in need of extra affirmation that sometimes standing up for yourself is the only way.