Saturday, January 05, 2008

Red Tears

Red Tears by Joanna Kenrick is a stunning novel aimed at teenagers, but worth reading whatever age you are. Kenrick's dramatization of self-harm is shocking; what is most shocking is how ordinary and seemingly common-place it is. Self-harm is not something I have any experience of in any way. I came across the book whilst browsing on Amazon and thought perhaps it was time my teenage daughter read something more challenging and thought provoking than her usual choice of reading material. I thought I'd read it first as it's a pretty heavy subject to foist upon a thirteen year old who, lets face it, has led a rather sheltered life thus far. I needn't have worried, however, as Kenrick's treatment is sensitive, challenging and responsible all at once. As the Red Tears website suggests, its 'a novel of pain, sadness and hope'. As a reader and a parent I found the anguish experienced by the main character quite difficult to shoulder at times. But it is, above all, a hopeful book and I think I understand a little more about what lies behind self-harm than I did before so that's very positive. I didn't realise it is an addictive behaviour. Neither did I appreciate the ideas of control and caring which play out so strongly in self-harming. If readers comments on the website are anything to go by then the book is helpful to those caught up self-harm themselves, even helping some stop which is quite an achievement. It certainly helped my understanding. I don't know what my 13 year old daughter will make of it, but I'll let you know. Red Tears isn't Kenrick's only novel and, from what I can see, she's an author worth supporting, apart from being relevant and a damn good read besides.


Jo Kenrick said...

Thank you so much for such a lovely review! I hope you don't mind, I have copied it onto my site - please let me know if you'd rather I took it down. Red Tears has been out for nearly a year now and it had begun to seem as though it had been forgotten about, so thank you very much for brightening up my day!
(In case you're interested, my next novel, Screwed, which is about promiscuous behaviour, is out on 3rd April). Many thanks again.

Ghost Writer said...

You are welcome Jo. And it's always nice to brighten up someone's day!