YEAH, BUT I DIDN’T
Genre: Young Adult / Coming of Age / Bullying
Publisher: Wordcrafts Press
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 274 pages
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The first rung: the betrayal
The second rung: the assault
The third rung: the rumors
The fourth rung: the painting
The final rung: no other way out
Betrayed, bullied, and battered emotionally, physically, and spiritually, Benji’s life spirals out of control. She is certain there is nowhere to turn and nothing to live for. Yet in the midst of the darkness there appears a ray of hope in the Yeah, But I Didn’t therapy group.
“Ann Swann delivers a harrowing emotional tale that offers messages of hope and renewal of spirit despite some of the darkest times that life can throw at us.” 5-STARS, Readers’ Favorite
This book opens on an alarming note when Ben, Benji, is attacked in her home by a classmate and is almost raped. It’s a horrifying scene depicting something that I’m sure is a fear of many young teens who are home alone.
The circumstances of Benji’s life were complicated the first time when her father left the family for a younger woman whom Benji refers to as The Slut. Benji and her older sister have a difficult time trying to assimilate into the life of that new family, so after a year or so, they stop going to visit their father.
Benji’s relationship with her sister, instead of being supportive, is combative and ugly, ultimately pushing Benji to that horrible moment when she tries to kill herself. Luckily, she is not successful.
The loss of a father figure in a young girl’s life is very traumatic, and while Benji deals openly with a lot of her anger she doesn’t often bring forward a lot of the other emotions associated with this type of abandonment especially the deep sense of loss.
Her life is even more complicated when her boyfriend and her long-time girlfriend decide to hook up and it breaks her heart. She expresses that anguish in a painting that becomes a catalyst for much of the rest of the story.
I enjoyed the read on many levels: the characters, the dynamics of relationships, and the way Benji came full circle in an understanding and acceptance of herself and her life. I also thoroughly enjoyed the revelation of the one supporter Benji had at school. That kept me guessing along with her, and I was very intrigued about whether she would be able to trust him after what had happened in the opening of the story.
While there was much to keep me reading, I found the last quarter of the book a bit slow in places and a little unrealistic in terms of the way the characters were suddenly all resolving issues that had been standing between them for a long time. With the exception of the problem between Benji and her older sister Janie, but even when that resolution came, it seemed a little unrealistic in terms of human behavior.
Still this is a good young adult novel that showcases numerous issues that young people face and certainly offers encouragement and inspiration for ways to deal with the difficulties in a positive way. It is not an easy read because of the traumas revealed, but it is an important read.
I recommend Yeah, But I Didn’t to readers of all ages.
Ann has been a writer since junior high school, but to pay the bills she has waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people’s houses, taught school, and had a short stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.
Her fiction began to win awards during her college days. Since then she’s published quite a few short stories, novels, and novellas. But even if no one ever bought another book, Ann would not stop writing. She says it’s a necessity, like breathing. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
One Autographed Hardcover Copy
February 4-13, 2020
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