I knew a boy once who was equally, just differently, effed up by the world and his childhood. There are things about Christian that continually remind me of him (the desperation, the insecurity, the mood changes, the intelligence, the self hatred, the need to please, the sudden moments of boyish glee, the way he so carefully takes care of those he loves most, the intensity of emotions), and it both tugs at and breaks my heart.
I have to tuck those reminders away in a safe place while I read, or I think the novel would destroy me. I’d like everyone who has been buried under darkness to find their way back toward a light. But personally, I know that trying to be someone else’s light and not destroy yourself in the process is a whole different story. So while I don’t find the novel to be completely realistic (thank goodness, because it would depress me), there’s something inside me that desperately wishes that it was.
That’s why it got 5 stars.