Monday, December 30, 2019

Book Review: Furious Thing, by Jenny Downham

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham book cover and review
I have mixed feelings about Furious Thing. It started out very bleak and took awhile before I felt any sense of hope. However, this may be just the right book for some teens.

Lexi has never known her father, so when her mother brings home a new man,  John, she thinks her life is looking up. And her mother is so happy--or is she? Subtle things begin to cause Lexi to doubt. John disappears and often her mother doesn't know where he is. He seems to expect her mother to ask no questions.

Lexi's temper tantrums are driving her soon-to-be stepfather mad. She vows, over and over, to be the good girl. To make her mother and John proud of her. For some reason, this proves impossible. The explosions keep happening and escalating--she really is a Furious Thing. It doesn't help that her stepbrother has gone away to college. He was the one bright spot in her life, and she wants so badly for him to return her affections. Lexi reaches John's last straw, and he requires her to see a doctor (of his choosing) and go on medication. The reader sees the issues way before Lexi or any of her family does. It is frustrating realizing that she has no one to turn to, no one to help her see how controlling her stepfather is.

While there are indications to the outside world of his nature, no one feels like they can help, and you get a sense of hopelessness and desperation that feels uncomfortable. As the wedding approaches, Lexi reaches out to one of her mom's friends who begins to help. Lexi begins to realize that her little sister (John's and her mom's child) will soon be in the crossfire and becomes a bit desperate to change something for her sake.

It takes a while for Furious Thing to begin an upward swing. And for this reason, this one might not be for every reader. However, the story is compelling and quick. Sometimes what we see from the outside looking in isn't the entire picture, and in Lexi's case, this was certainly true. Her anger seemed to be entirely illogical and entirely her fault. But abuse comes in many different forms. So while the bruises aren't visible, they are definitely present. Lexi's realization of this fact and the eventual support of some adults is the beginning of her turn-around. The reader is left with hope at the end of a very dismal story.

Recommend Furious Thing to teens who enjoy contemporary stories that are raw and a bit desolate.

Published by David Fickling, January 7. 2020
ARC obtained from School Library Connection Magazine
373 pages

Rating: 4/5

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1 comment:

  1. Your review has made me intrigued by the step father and just exactly what awful thing he is doing to this poor family.


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