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Towelhead

by Alicia Erian

A disturbing read of emotional blackmail and sexual abuse - with once innocent Jasira as an emotional pawn in a game of bickering and petty jealousies between her father and mother. An insight into how the cruelty of humans manifests itself in such terrible ways. However, this is not a completely bleak tale, eventually Jasira is shown kindness, for which I was grateful.

Extract

I went to hug him then. I couldn't help it. Not just from that moment, but from the day before, when it had seemed like he'd been defending me a little to my mother. As soon as I reached my arms toward him, though, he hit me in the face. I fell backwards on to the breakfast nook floor. 'We don't hug people we hate,' he said, then he went in his room and shut the door.

When I woke up the next day, I had a black eye. I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror. I felt very, very excited. I had seen boys in school with black eyes, boys who had been in fights. Everyone knew from the way they looked that this was what had happened to them. Now, I thought, people would know about something that had happened to me.

When I went out for breakfast, Daddy looked at me but didn't say anything. Then, in the middle of eating his cereal, he said, 'Just so you know, if anyone sees you like that, you won't be able to live with me any more.'

Parallels

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton
Invisible Girls : The Truth About Sexual Abuse by Patti Feuereisen & Caroline Pincus
Lolita - the film
 

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