Jenny Rat - Martin Simons
Release Date - January 2013
Amazon Digital Services
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
Challenging is a good word for my feelings towards Jenny Rat. One the one hand, the writing is mesmerizing, the characters are incredibly well developed, but then I reach that point where my mothering instincts kick into overdrive. I wonder why on earth the social services department do what they do. As Jenny Rat takes place in Australia, maybe there are legal differences at play, that's all I can think.
Michael, 28, is very shy and keeps to himself. He's an architect and works from home. Outside of occasional work meetings, his only interaction with other adults is his weekly visit from a prostitute. One night, he finds a freezing, battered young girl in the drainage ditch in front of his home. Despite his prostitute's warnings, he brings the girl inside and tends to her until the ambulance arrives.
From the start, Michael can't get the young girl out of his mind. He heads to the hospital where he soon becomes instrumental in getting her to reveal details of her past that allow social workers to identify her. Michael soon learns that the young teen was sexually abused by her father, her mother turned her into a prostitute, and Jenny's suffered from more abuse than one could imagine. It isn't long before Jenny's social worker tells Michael that he must decide what role he will play in Jenny's future. This leaves him with a tough decision to make.
Jenny, having been molested and raped for much of her life, even if she calls it love in the case of her father, is very sexual. I was honestly shocked when the social worker agrees, even knowing that Jenny has made passes at Michael, to let Jenny live with him. Granted Jenny needed a stable home, but even when she learned Michael and Jenny were sharing a bed, she still agreed to let Jenny stay there. That was just too creepy for me, and it made it very hard to keep reading.
As the back of the book states, the story then progresses into Jenny's transition to school and the events that would forever shape Jenny and Michael's lives. I don't want to delve too much into this, because I really don't want to give away spoilers. But, my bottom line was that I was sufficiently disgusted with Michael by this point and lost interest in the story. It's a case of my morals outranked the brilliant writing and emotionally-charged characters, and I just couldn't get past the "ick" factor of a grown man becoming sexually attracted to a teen he'd taken in to his home saying they would be like brother and sister.