Having a Bad Day
September 18, 2012
I read a book recently that put the statement "having a bad day" to shame. Gordon Reece's book Mice is definitely a page turner. Reece reveals bullying at its most horrifying level. The character in this book endures mental and physical abuse at school that makes you want to cry out for justice. But the story doesn’t end there. Shelley and her mom have been menaced long enough. Excused from high school where a trio of bullies nearly killed her, and still reeling from her parents' humiliating divorce, Shelley has retreated with her mother to the quiet of Honeysuckle Cottage in the countryside. Thinking their troubles are over, they revel in their cozy, secure life of gardening, books, hot chocolate, and Brahms by the fire. But on the eve of Shelley's sixteenth birthday, an unwelcome guest disturbs their peace and something inside Shelley snaps. What happens next will shatter all their certainties-about their safety, their moral convictions, the limits of what they are willing to accept, and what they're capable of.
Gordon Reece has written a taut tale of gripping suspense, packed with action, both comic and terrifying. Shelley is a spellbinding narrator, and her delectable mix of wit, irony, and innocence transforms the major current issue of bullying into an edge-of-your-seat story of fear, violence, family loyalty, and the outer reaches of right and wrong. The author states, "for me the defining quality of a human mouse is the inability to deal with confrontation. Shelley and her Mom are highly intelligent and talented in many ways; they just can’t cope with any sort of confrontation. In a world where so many people seem to thrive on conflict, this leaves them dangerously exposed and vulnerable."
In my mind, this novel reveals that when people are pushed to the limits, they are capable of acts of unspeakable violence. When you read this book, you will certainly have a different perceptive of having a bad day or bad year. Also, it reveals that bullying is not just harmless pranks. Schools need to have strict policies on bullying and enforce them. No parent wants to send their child to school fearing for their safety.