A Deep Cut: The TFT Review of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Blood Wounds
Within the first few pages of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Blood Wounds, out September 13th, the sugary-sweet happiness of 17-year-old Willa’s family might make you want to scream. Her mom remarried the loving Jack when she was very young and she’s grown up with his two daughters, one a year younger and one a year older. The speed bump in their road to familial bliss is the stepsisters’ wealth and sense of entitlement. Jack and Willa’s mother make due with a modest middle class income; the stepsisters’ mother is rich. Raising children accustomed to a privileged lifestyle isn’t easy for Willa’s mother, and the family struggles as her mother quits her job to cart the stepdaughters to their tennis and violin lessons while Willa doesn’t even dare to ask for the voice instructor her choir teacher suggests. It isn’t until Willa’s preferred method of stress management is revealed—she’s a cutter, and she keeps the razor blades and peroxide in a dark corner of the basement, making her self-mutilation seem even more gruesome—that her maddening calm in the face of this unfairness makes a little sense.
Willa’s life, and the facade of her happy family is forever changed when her father, who she barely remembers, kills his young wife and two daughters. His killing spree ends when he’s shot by police on Willa’s doorstep (her family had moved to a motel by then), carrying the severed head of her third half sister she never knew existed. Willa realizes she had a whole family she never knew, including a half brother a few years her senior who’s still alive, and she knows she can never go back to the Norman Rockwell existence her mother had tried so hard to create.
So she travels to the town she was born in, where her mother won’t return, and spends her days going to her dead siblings’ funeral, visiting her grandparents’ graves, and trying to figure out what it means to come from a monster.
This book is heavier than a twelve-hour marathon of SVU, but the incredibly sad and confusing subject matter is not overly dwelled upon. Rather, the focus shifts to the real emotional growth Willa experiences. None of the characters let Willa feel sorry for herself, though the reader might, and by bypassing a pity party Willa gains insight that is far beyond her teenage years .
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 2 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 3 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 4 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 5 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Startup
- 6 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 7 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 8 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 9 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook