Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson 3/8

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book three for me out of the TV Book Club list and so far it has been my favourite. At times the subject matter is hard to digest as the institutionalisation of children and adults is such a delicate topic. There is no skirting around the edges when it comes to discussing child abuse, humiliation and degradation.

Grace Williams is just eleven when she is sent to a mental institute labelled 'ineducable' and 'disgusting'. However Grace soon becomes our hero as she performs acts of great bravery.  I am glad she is the narrator as well as the protagonist - the interference of another voice would have taken away Emma Henderson's objective of giving a misunderstood minority a stage on which to finally project their voice. 
Grace's voice is so tender that it is easy to become distracted by her thoughts and feelings.  Emma Henderson encourages the reader to adjust to the rhythm of Grace's narrative, only to intersperse horrific incidents of child abuse, violence and death in short compact sentences - making you feel that you have sharply had a plaster ripped from a wound. The impact of this technique is phenomenal as not only do you feel an immense sense of pain for your protagonist, but you are also left to reflect on the generations of 'ineducable' people who this very well may have happened to. 

I was impressed by Emma Henderson's attention to detail throughout the novel and her ability to portray the life of Grace Williams with such a strong element of realism - thinking that there may be more to this story than meets the eye I looked Emma Henderson up and found that she had in fact had an older sister who was admitted to an institution. The link to the interview I found is here - it is well worth a read once you have read the novel as I feel it adds depth to the novel and adds a sense of authority to the narrative.

8/10 for this one. I have heard it described as a love story, and there is an element of love as Grace falls for the amputee, Daniel but I feel the love story really lies between Grace and life.

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