Author: +Hannah Tennant-Moore
Star rating: 3/5
Trigger Warning: Deals with sexual scenarios some may find uncomfortable or degrading. Also deals with physical and emotional abuse.
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own.
Synopsis from Amazon: Decisively aimless, self-destructive, and impulsively in and out of love, Elsie is a young woman who feels stuck. She has a tumultuous relationship with an abusive boyfriend, a dead-end job at a newspaper, and a sharp intelligence that’s constantly at odds with her many bad decisions. When her initial attempts to improve her life go awry, Elsie decides that a dramatic change is the only solution.
An auto-didact who prefers the education of travel to college, Elsie uses an inheritance to support her as she travels to Paris and Sri Lanka, hoping to accumulate experiences, create connections, and discover a new way to live. Along the way, she meets men and women who challenge and provoke her towards the change she genuinely hopes to find. But in the end, she must still come face-to-face with herself.
Whole-hearted, fiercely honest and inexorably human, Wreck and Order is a stirring debut that, in mirroring one young woman's dizzying quest for answers, illuminates the important questions that drive us all.
This was a hard book for me to read, and I normally read about some heavy issues without it bothering me. This book was hard to read for me mainly because I wanted to shake the main character, Elsie, until she grew a brain. On the other hand, I really felt for her because she obviously has some inner issues that she can't handle and searches for ways to heal herself in abusive relationships and running away 500,000 miles from home.
I did like the fact that most of the novel was set in Sri Lanka, where Elsie went to lose herself in a poverty stricken neighborhood with her friend Suryia. I believe the trip was definitely eye opening for Elsie because she has so much more than what Suriya and her family has. This novel is beautifully written, and deals with a lot of issues that are deemed as taboo, which is very brave of Tennant-Moore, in my opinion.
I was a little disappointed at the end of the book because I didn't feel as if Elsie had learned much of anything except about her divide with a third world country. This is a book that made me feel degraded reading. I wanted to reach out to Elsie and tell her that rough sex isn't the only way she can feel the things she needs to. In fact, I think it hinders her ability to move past whatever issues she is dealing with. Although I did finish the book, it would be one that I will not let my children read until they are grown up enough to understand that the type of love and sacrifices that Elsie is making is not the type of love she or he will ever need in their lives. This is a story of a severely screwed up individual who should have had a little more guidance when they were growing up instead of an absent mother and a father who also has a mental-illness.
All in all, I love the way Tennant-Moore can write. It's eloquent and in some cases extremely crude and horrifying. I love a book that can bring out those emotions in me. On the other hand, it's a book that needs to be read by an older, more mature crowd who can understand the difference between abuse and love. This book likes to make you think differently about things.