- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
This taut thriller showcases the award-winning Canadian author's gift for creating memorable teen characters who confront tough issues alone—in this case, teen bullying, portrayed in gritty, claustrophobic detail by its victim.
High-school junior Shirley Rutz knows she's ugly—she sees it in the mirror, her mother and pretty sister reinforce the message and her classmates hammer it home. Their weapons of choice run from cruel jeers and physical intimidation to sophisticated cyberbullying. To endure the pain, Shir takes refuge in her hideaway above the river, anesthetizing herself with alcohol. To pay the exorbitant price her adult suppliers charge for beer, she makes deliveries for a grocer whose appreciation for her work is the only praise she hears. The crutches Shir relies on are fragile though, and they soon begin to fail her. The relentless abuse at school escalates, a strange boy invades her sanctuary and she makes the horrifying discovery that she's been delivering more than groceries. If Shir's crutches are what's kept her going, giving them up is the price of survival. Goobie's third-person voice relentlessly puts readers directly in Shir's head, pulling no punches in creating a memorable, believable character.
Working-class, alcoholic Shir is no swan in ugly-duckling disguise, but despite the rotten hand life's dealt her, she's got heart and courage and a stubborn refusal to give up that will keep readers rooting for her. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Posted April 20, 2012
Shir knows her future doesn't hold much for her; how could it when her life to this point has been so miserable? Her mother hates her because she is a reminder of her drunk dad; she can't count the number of times she has been threatened with being kicked out of her home. Her facial features make her an easy target of meanies at school, where she has had dog excrement smeared on her face, to go along with the moniker of "Dog Face." She finds solace in her part-time job making deliveries for a convenience store and also at "MySpace," her name for a spot near a local bridge where she drinks beer. Another teen finds her there and as they slowly become friends, Shir begins to come out of her shell. Something about the delivery business causes her to wonder if the packages contain only groceries. Who can she turn to for help?
The pain of bullying is more than adequately described in this novel. Shir endures things that should happen to no one and one way she copes is with alcohol. She is at times not a likeable protagonist but who can blame her attitude with what she is living with? Recommended for ages 14+ due to language and teen drinking.