Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jumping the Scratch, by Sarah Weeks

Barnes & Noble

Jamie Reardon has always heard that bad things come in threes. So after his cat, Mister, dies, his father leaves, and his aunt Sapphy has an accident that causes her memory to develop a skip, Jamie hopes his life will go back to being as normal as cornflakes.

But unfortunately there's one more bad thing in store for Jamie -- something he'd give anything to be able to forget -- and this one leaves him feeling like a stranger to himself.

Jamie tries in vain to find the magic trigger that will help Sapphy's memory jump the scratch, like the needle on her favorite Frank Sinatra record, but in the end it's Aunt Sapphy who, along with a curious girl named Audrey Krouch, helps Jamie unravel the mysteries of memory and jump the scratch in his own life.

Sarah Weeks's poignant characters and powerful prose come together in a story that is both heart wrenching and inspiring -- another gem from the award-winning author of So B. It.

***Trigger warning: this review contains information about sexual assault that may be upsetting to survivors***

This was a hard book to listen to because it was so real.  Because it's a kid's book, there are no gory details (thank goodness) about what happened to Jamie, but it's painfully clear.  Well, at least to an adult.  I don't have 8- to 12-year-old children, so I'm not sure how quickly they'd pick up on the molestation.

I worry about how to talk to my kids about sexual predators.  I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of someone hurting either of them, but how do you bring up such a difficult subject?  Adults tend to forget about what they knew as children; I knew about "bad touching" when I was little.  We were taught by our parents, our teachers, and our daycare providers.  But as parents?  We don't want to expose our children to such an awful part of life.  We want to protect them!  Shield them!  Make sure no harm comes to them!

This book is a great way to help explain what happens when a child is molested, why he acted the way he did, and how he'll deal with it in the future.  I am adding it to the list of books to read with my kids in a few years.

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