Past Forgiving

Past Forgiving

4.6 3
by Gloria D. Miklowitz

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Miklowitz (The Day the Senior Class Got Married) is back with another story taken from the front page, and few writers tell them better than she. This time the subject is date rape and though the plot is simplistic, the pacing is swift and the situations sharply delineated. Under the bullying of possessive older boyfriend Cliff, 15-year-old Alex feels insecure about her looks, intelligence and abilities. Soon Alex can do nothing to please her demanding boyfriend: ``She'd given up friends, dressed as he wanted, gave him time taken away from her family, avoided even talking to other boys-but it wasn't enough.'' Cliff's jealous tirades escalate to the point that he physically bruises Alex, but she forgives him and blames herself for his behavior. It is only when, during an unwelcome makeout session, Cliff gets "carried away'' and rapes her that Alex finally recognizes his abusiveness and decides to close him out of her life. Cliff has other ideas, however, and the tension doesn't peak until the final sentence. Engrossing and informative. Ages 12-up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 8-10-This is a touching story of a stormy, spring-to-summer romance that culminates in disaster. Its true substance, however, is the relationship between a boy with a twisted need to dominate and a girl who is dangerously vulnerable to his charms. Several years older than Alex, Cliff is just graduating from high school. He enchants her with love and praise, then he demeans her with stinging barbs at the things she loves best. He envies anyone who enjoys even a small measure of her time or attention. Even when his jealous outbursts begin to turn violent, she accepts his apologies and promises of reform. As Cliff's behavior becomes more and more troubling, Alex determines to withold her affections until he hears her out. Cliff refuses to listen and rapes her. The scene is unambiguous without being drawn out or overly graphic, and the incident is clearly about rage and power, not about sex. To read this novel is to watch helplessly as Alex is drawn into Cliff's trap. It is only when she realizes that he needs more help than she can begin to give that she is able to escape his grip. An attractive and intelligent girl, Alex's only deficiency is one of self-confidence. Miklowitz has portrayed her completely and convincingly in a way that clearly takes the mystery, but not the pain, out of the abuse cycle. Although the story is narrated in the third person, only Alex's psyche is penetrated. The enigma of Cliff's split personality is revealed only enough to make it apparent that his problems are sadly not of his own making, and their solution is far beyond the power of a young girl's love. This well-written, perceptive, and important book provides a straightforward look at an all-too-common problem.-Margaret Cole, Oceanside Library, NY
Stephanie Zvirin
Miklowitz couches a timely topic in a simplistic problem-novel setup but still manages to deliver a story with plenty of plot momentum. Alex, 15, thinks she's unbelievably lucky to have a boyfriend like Cliff--gorgeous, polite, popular, talented. So anxious is she to please, she excuses Cliff's controlling behavior, his angry outbursts, and his jealousy. She even excuses his slapping her. She finally draws the line when he expects to be forgiven for raping her on a date. Characters are one-dimensional, with adults either idiotic or despicable. But Miklowitz has definitely done her homework on abusive relationships, and their basic characteristics, all clearly spelled out, are the real stuff of the story. For teenage girls who know nothing about the subject, the novel will be an eye-opener, and the jacket, with its close-up of a handsome, brooding young man, will draw readers like a magnet.

Read More

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.51(h) x 0.69(d)
540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >