This book should be required reading in schools all over the country. I would say I enjoyed The Snake Pit, but with a story like this you don’t really enjoy it as much as you experience it. I will admit I’m a little biased here, as I was bullied almost everyday of every week of every month… and so on, while I was in school, but Donna L. Dillon honed in on a tragedy that occurs so often in this topsy-turvy world. Middle-school aged children should be the target audience here, and I will make damn sure my own daughter reads this when she hits ten or eleven years old. Even though she is home schooled, she needs the lessons Donna L. Dillon provides. Kids can be cruel. I’ve heard it said, as even Donna mentions in the book, that ‘kids will be kids,’ but in this day and age it goes far beyond that.
You will read this book and liken it to Stephen King’s Carrie, I’m sure. But you must see past the similarities and read this book for what it is: the truth. Though the points of comparison are many between Carrie and The Snake Pit, the message is stronger and rings truer in Donna’s book. Even though she died at the end, Carrie had her revenge. Poor Cinda, the tortured young woman in The Snake Pit, finds a different method of dealing with the situation that mirrors what’s happening all around us today. Though the story is told through interviews with the people involved in Cinda’s life inside and outside the walls of Hargrove Junior High, and never from Cinda’s POV, we become attached to her nonetheless. By the end, I was so involved that I cried, dripping tears on my kindle in the hope that I wouldn’t have to read on; that my weeping would blur the words and I wouldn’t have to finish. Like I said, I’m a bit biased, and I took the story to heart, but I dare you to read The Snake Pit to the end and not feel broken inside by the tale you’ve been told. I guess the worst part about the whole thing is how true Donna’s fiction actually is.
My hat goes off to you, Donna. This is a tale I don’t think I could have told.
No matter how I look at it, this book deserves no less than five stars. In fact, it might be the first one I’d ever consider giving a six to, if only for that added element of truth Donna squeezed into this. I’m floored, people, and that doesn’t happen often.