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Shut Up Reviewed By Lois Henderson of Bookpleasures.com
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Lois C. Henderson

Reviewer Lois C. Henderson: Lois is a freelance academic editor and back-of-book indexer, who spends most of her free time compiling word search puzzles for tourism and educative purposes. Her puzzles are available HERE and HERE Her Twitter account (@LoisCHenderson) mainly focusses on the toponymy of British place names. Please feel welcome to contact her with any feedback at LoisCourtenayHenderson@gmail.com.





 
By Lois C. Henderson
Published on May 19, 2012
 

Author: Anne Tibbets

Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-937957-36-0





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Author: Anne Tibbets

Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-937957-36-0

It’s tough being the youngest child, especially when your older sister becomes an unmarried mom at the age of seventeen and is an apparent ingrate to boot. Told from the point of view of Mary, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, by her older brother Paul, Shut Up is the sometimes harrowing tale of how the child who appears to be the most vulnerable and open to abuse, whether of an emotional or physical nature, is often the one to win through in the end.

A quick, yet insightful, read, Shut Up is likely to appeal to both t(w)eenager and adult alike. The warmth and compassion of the author can be read between the lines in her nonjudgmental approach – she lets the protagonists speak for themselves, and even accounts for the less savory actions of the other characters in a way that lets us realize that, however heinous certain actions might, at first glance, appear, the motives underlying them are usually within our grasp, even if we believe that, in similar circumstances, we would not choose to act in the same way.

Shut Up, which is a relatively short book of only 110 pages (including the two-page of Acknowledgements), should serve as a valuable text for reading in youth groups, where discussion about the contents can be guided by youthful and empathetic adults. The topics of abuse, favouritism and unmarried mothers, among others, would benefit from being brought out in the open, as there are few who have not been affected by similar incidents, even if among friends, rather than within the more immediate situation of one’s own nuclear family. The author herself attests to having experienced many of the events that are so graphically portrayed in the book during her own childhood, although they are fictionalized in this account. Tibbets reminds us, “This is not a memoir. This is fiction.” Most revealing is her dedication of the book: “For My Parents Who did the best they could.”

Anne Tibbets, who is a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators award-winning and Smashwords.com Best Selling author, is a firm supporter of strong female characters, whom she places in familiar, everyday settings, although she has also written a middle grade time travel adventure, The Amulet Chronicles and a young adult fantasy The Beast Call. Her close awareness of the risk that depressed teens stand of attempting to commit suicide is reflected in the linkages that she provides on her website to the Suicide Hotline and the Teen Depression website.

In short, Shut Up is a thought-provoking and courageous approach to some extremely taxing issues troubling teenagers today. The novel is recommended for any resource centre for youngsters, as well as for any school or public library collection.


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