Gillyflower

Ellen Howard, Author Atheneum Books $13.95 (106p) ISBN 978-0-689-31274-8
Gilly likes to make up stories about beautiful princess Juliana, to whom bad things never happen. Her mother works on a night shift, and her father is often unemployed. Often, when younger sister Honey is asleep, her father asks Gilly to ""keep him company.'' And that's when he sexually abuses Gilly, while telling her it's her fault because ``you're getting so sexy, Gilly'' and ``you know you like it.'' Gilly keeps her terrible secret, but always believes that everyone knows about her, just by looking at her. She also thinks that all fathers do this to their daughters. By growing closer to a new friend's family, Gilly senses that what happens to her is wrong. The fear that her father has started to abuse Honey pushes Gilly to tell her mother. And, finally, Princess Juliana goes away forever. The tragedy of this story is its ring of authenticity, and the acute sadness that grips the reader's heart from the first page to the last. But that is also the book's strengththis is no sugar-coated parable. It's compellingly written, with no easy answers; one hopes that the child who reads this book will have an understanding adult to turn to for further discussion. (9-13)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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