Review: Say Something by Cathy Morrison

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Sometimes the most difficult choice is the only one you can make.

Maggie knows the abuse she endured as a little girl isn’t all that defines her. She’s a strong student, varsity athlete, good person—but she’s careful not to let anyone close. Because letting someone in means risking the truth. And the truth didn’t work so well for her the first time.

Now there’s this great guy. He likes her. He makes her think that maybe, just maybe, she could be normal. She could be happy.

Just when things are getting good, the man who abused her barrels back into her life, and she discovers that another little girl is in danger. She can continue to hide her past—or confront it and risk her hard-won happiness.

She can say something.

*Abuse is NOT depicted in a graphic manner.

My Review

***Actual rating: 3/5 Unflinching Stars***

“We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.”-Author unknown -Maggie’s journal

Trigger Warning: Child sexual abuse, child molestation (Though none of those sensitive scenes were depicted in detail.)

Say Something is a story about encouraging (female) victims of sexual abuse, particularly when that happens in their childhood, to speak up for themselves and stand their ground despite what others think. Honestly, I have mixed thoughts about this book.

To begin with, as “right” as this sounds, I don’t fully agree with the author’s perspective because 1) the case in this book takes a sharp turn by the end of the trial, tainting the initially good cause of the enforcement of law, which I don’t appreciate very much, and 2) I personally am not convinced by the reasons why people should stand out the way the female protagonist in this book does. In other words, our female main character, Maggie, is the victim of a child sexual abuse case happening when she was only eight and even though she reported to the school’s counselor and the police then, her mom told her to recant so that they could get money from the abuser, a.k.a. Maggie’s mom’s ex-boyfriend, who also happened to be one of the most powerful prosecutors in the county. As you can see, this case here is a typical example of someone in the higher social ranking does something terribly wrong, but it’s not hard to imagine people’s reaction when hearing upon Maggie’s accusation of him: disbelief, dismay, calling her a slut, and only a few of people support her.

So when Maggie finally decides to tell her story, an ugly truth she’s been hiding for years until she’s 17, her entire world is flipped upside down. The only people truly care about her are her football star boyfriend, Matt, and his best friend, Kelvin. (Of course there are some secondary characters but I skip them.) I love that Matt can always play the perfect-boyfriend-role-model all the time and show affection/thoughtfulness when Maggie needs the most. However, the author mentions way too much “Poor Matt” in the story since Maggie doesn’t tell Matt everything until pretty late in their relationship and that Matt is CONSTANTLY CONFUSED by Maggie’s sudden tuning outs.

Besides, there are also some minor parts that I find quite contradictory. For instance, in the beginning of the story, Maggie’s having a self-deprecative conversation with her reflection in the mirror, where she mentions how much she hates her BRIGHT BLUE eyes. Somehow, in the middle of the book when she’s going out on a date with Matt, she says the dress brings out the GREEN IN HER HAZEL EYES. I know this is just a teeny, tiny bit of the whole story compared to those bigger issues but still! I like to picture those characters in my head with as many details as possible, and eye color is definitely one of those features I value.

Okay, apparently I’m rambling right now so let’s get back to the plot. The entire story is fairly predictable, in my opinion, because when I come to think of it, this book focuses on Maggie saying something about the child sexual abuse just so she can not only justify herself, but save another “little beauty,” as the said abuser likes to call his victims, from going through the same horrifying experience as Maggie’s. Therefore, with the satisfying ending, Maggie becomes the public hero *DUH* and though she can never have the normal life she yearns for, she’s content at the moment.

To sum up, this book isn’t bad, but the plot and character development could be more deliberately thought-out. There’s still room for improvement regarding many smaller aspects such us character’s personality and appearances. That being said, I wouldn’t highly recommend this book to everyone, but the moral here is still worthy of spreading: seeking help when you see someone or when you encounter similar child sexual abuse incidents is essential, no matter how daunting the process may be. Speaking up and defending yourself/other victims will make you stronger, and someone will always appreciate your brave deeds.

***I voluntarily read and reviewed this book from NetGalley.***

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