Shut Up by Anne Tibbits
Publisher: Premier Digital Publishing
Release date: April 15, 2012
File size: 242 KB
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When I first started reading Shut Up, I thought, "This book is really short. On the one hand, that's good, because it means I won't spend an entire week reading it, when I have a lot of books to get to. On the other hand. . . . Will it be a fully developed story? Will I love it?"Mary’s older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she’s also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up. Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off, The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport. Despite her brother’s advice to shut up, Mary can’t keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows. Mary doesn’t know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.
The answer to both of those questions ended up being yes. It is fully developed, and I really loved it.
I actually waited a few days after finishing the book before I sat down to write this review. I needed some distance from the book because by the time I was done it with it, I was pretty depressed. It's a depressing book. It's sad. And it didn't help that I read another depressing (but also hopeful) book right before reading Shut Up. Now that I have some distance from the book, I can say more than just, "It was depressing."
I loved the fact that the book is told in alternating viewpoints. I loved Mary's narration and Paul's narration. It helped me so more than one side of the story, and in a book like this, I think it's necessary to see how different people view the same situations. I especially loved the contrast in these viewpoints because of the contrast in the characters: male v. female, quiet and under the radar v. being noticed, older sibling v. younger sibling. All these elements came together to create a more rounded picture of what Mary's family is like. That's not to say it's a complete picture; it can't be a complete picture when we only have two sides of the story. But it's a great picture of the family and their struggles.
Anne Tibbits did an incredible job with the emotion in Shut Up. I was depressed, sad, angry, and hopeful, sometimes all at once. There were so many moments where I thought things were going to get better for Mary, and sometimes they did. There were just as many moments when I felt outrage over how Mary's mother and sister treated her, and how no one stepped in. I am amazed at how Anne Tibbits was able to tap into my emotions, and keep me emotionally invested in the book even after I had finished it.
Given the subject of the book, Shut Up is by no means an easy read. It's hard to even say I liked it, because I don't want to say I liked reading about terrible things happening to someone, even if that someone was fictional, but it's impossible not to say that I loved this book. The writing is strong, the characters are developed, and the plot is interesting. I do have the question of why Gwen was the way she was, but I suspect she could be bipolar (I could be completely wrong; it was just the impression that I had while reading). Even without that explanation, I didn't feel that this book was lacking anything; instead, it has everything it needs to be a great book.
***Note: The summary I used is courtesy of Amazon and the cover image is courtesy of Barnes and Noble.***