There must be something in the air or some odd convergence of planets: I’ve had a group of books that I have read lately that, at least tangentially, deal with characters that are “less than” in society’s eyes. Bend Me, Shape Me is no different. Debra Borys deals with the issue of underground teenaged runaways. Often squatting in abandoned buildings, abused in birth families and targeted for abuse by the predatory denizens of the city, and often with recurrent and severe mental illnesses, this is not a pretty set of circumstances for a quiet afternoon read. That should NOT discourage you, however, because it is a beautifully written, well-presented and completely engaging afternoon’s read that will have you wondering if you can find somewhere to make a difference in this world.
Snow has run off with her brother Alley, at just 18 she has seen far more than any child should ever see. Witnessing a bipolar episode of a friend and his subsequent suicide, she blames the doctor and is convinced that he pushed the friend over the edge. Powerful and street wise, she retreats from her pain by drowning her sorrow in pills. Both she and her brother were orphaned while still young, the system found they both showed signs of mental illness, but her determination to protect her brother and survive against horrific odds is a testament to her strength. When Jo Sullivan decides to start an investigative piece on the underground teens, each new realization is a new level of shock for her. Tentative steps to talk with Snow, and form a relationship after she discovers the friend’s suicide show a reporter who is much more. Truly engaged and determined to make a difference as she finds the truth, Jo is pretty amazing and the careful nurturing of the budding relationship that she is building with Snow is well-defined and presented with a solidity that feels both possible and realistic.
Delve into the world under that bridge, and see how Borys mixes the real with the unsaid, uses the language and references from the street as well as real issues of abuse, drug use and repressed memories that all combine to slowly build to the climax. There were a few instances of extraneous characters that didn’t seem to add to the story, and a few ideas may have been better with more detail and flushing out, but the story was a page turner with plenty of ideas for thought once the book was finished. Truly a good book that touches on issues that are both current and unknown to many, you can pick up either in the series and not feel lost.
I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Title: Bend Me, Shape Me
Author: Debra R. Borys
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: New Libri Press
Series: Street Stories
Read in Order: Not Required
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble § Kobo
About the Book:
Bend Me, Shape Me is the second novel in the Street Stories suspense series and tells the story of Snow Ramirez, a bi-polar street kid about to turn 18. She’s convinced that psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim. Once again, reporter Jo Sullivan finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth.
Snow Ramirez hasn’t trusted anyone in a very long time, not even herself. Memories of her childhood on Washington’s Yakama Reservation haunt her even on the streets of Chicago. When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts. Blitz may have been diagnosed bi-polar, like Snow herself, but no way would he have offed himself like that if the shrink he’d been seeing hadn’t bent his mind completely out of shape.
Normally she wouldn’t care. Who wasn’t crazy in one way or another in this messed up world? After all, she’d gotten out from under the doctor’s thumb weeks ago and it was too late for Blitz now, wasn’t it? Snow’s little brother Alley, though, there might still be time to save him. If only she can get reporter Jo Sullivan to believe her story before Snow loses her own mind.
About the Author:
Debra R. Borys is the author of the Street Stories suspense novel series. A freelance writer and editor, she spent four years volunteering with Emmaus Ministries and the Night Ministry in Chicago, and eight years doing similar work at Teen Feed, New Horizons and Street Links in Seattle. The Street Stories series reflects the reality of throw away youth striving to survive. The first two books in the series are Painted Black and Bend Me, Shape Me. Her publication credits include short fiction in Red Herring Mystery Magazine, Downstate Story and City Slab.