Title: The Kindness of Strangers
Author: Katrina Kittle
Pages: 400 pages (paperback)
Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 2, 2007)
From Publishers Weekly
Master caterer Sarah Laden is barely holding her life together as a widow with two difficult sons—recalcitrant teen Nate and troubled fifth-grader Danny—when the unthinkable happens. Her best friend and neighbor, Courtney Kendrick, is arrested in a child sex abuse scandal. Courtney's husband has vanished; their 11-year-old son, Jordan, is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt; and across the street Nate is finding, in Jordan's backpack, evidence of unthinkable abuse. Kittle (Traveling Light; Two Truths and a Lie) crafts a disturbing but compelling story line, as Sarah, Nate and Jordan uncover and come to terms with the horror in alternating chapters. Sarah, for instance, is shocked to learn that she dropped off food for the Kendricks' sex parties; Jordan must decide whether or not he wants to continue a relationship with his mother—who insists she's innocent—if and when she gets acquitted. Kittle's research sits awkwardly in expository dialogue—"One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthdays," intones the detective who will later become Sarah's love interest—but it doesn't slow the momentum. Though the movement is toward healing, there are bumpy roads ahead for everybody in this melodramatic but gripping read. (Jan.)
Readability: This is a compelling read. I started this book late one evening and was up way too late reading! I began reading the book again once I awoke.
Overall: Last night before bed I started this book. I read until after midnight and dreamed about this book all night. I woke up and finished the book before noon. It was a disturbing subject matter, but very well written. It kept me wanting to know what happened. It was the story an abused child and his journey to recovery and his experience with the legal, foster care and social services agencies. Being a social worker in a social services agency, I find this type of book very compelling. I rate this book 4.5/5 = Recommended / A good read.