I would like to echo the sentiments of the other reviewers here regarding how engrossing and riveting this book is. I was immediately drawn into the story by Debra Borys’ deft handling of the drama and the raw, gritty dialogue. She’s got a knack for capturing the futility of life as revealed in the characters struggling with their own demons and hardships. This is some powerful writing.
Although the story of Bend Me, Shape Me is an engrossing thriller and a satisfying read for that reason alone, what I found most interesting was the light it shines on the issues faced by homeless kids. Sure, the book has the normal disclaimers about not being about real people, and I believe that. But prominent in the author’s bio is her experience working with organizations that help such kids. I’ve got to believe the issues, experiences, and difficulties of runaways and throwaways are depicted accurately, even though the specific personalities and characteristics of the kids in the story are made up.
While I have been extremely pleased by all the positive reviews Bend Me, Shape Me has received, I have been waiting anxiously for the first unsolicited review to be written by someone who was neither a friend nor a professional reviewer first contacted by me. Someone purely a reader/fan, in other words. Today, it happened.
Not only is Sheri Wilkinson a prolific Amazon reviewer (a Top Reviewer Ranking of 7,354 is nothing to sneeze at!) but her profile states she is from Princeton, IL which I consider my home turf. I spent about fifteen years living twenty minutes away and was just there yesterday at the library getting some writing done. Princeton is also the inspiration for one of the settings in my current WIP, A Bull By The Horns.
Thank you, Sheri!
A nail-biting all night thriller. The characters were likable, I could feel what they were experiencing. I would love to read more in the Street Stories by Debra R. Borys
I knew from an email Jill at IndieHeart sent me two weeks ago that this review of Bend Me, Shape Me would be a good one. Jill has experience working with troubled teens and so her accolades are high praise indeed. Please click through to read more, including a brief overview of the main characters that you should find interesting.
I found most of the characters in Bend Me, Shape Me to be well drawn. Alley is the perfect picture of a boy with fetal alcohol syndrome. Snow, who has been diagnosed as bipolar (like many traumatized teen girls with legitimate anger) is a strong and compelling character. You will find yourself pulling for her from the beginning.
The author also brings a high degree of craft to the elements that make the story an experience you can see, hear, and smell; she has a talent for both descriptive language and dialogue. The conversations between characters, in particular, ring true. If you want your street people to speak a polite, formal language, look elsewhere. This story is a story of the cold winter streets and abandoned squats of Chicago where survival is difficult and language is colorful. Ms. Borys paints a picture that makes you feel you are there.
I find it interesting that on the same day I receive a review complimenting how strong the characters are portrayed, I also find another which says the opposite. The Pankhearst Review posted a review on August 14 that I found only because I was bored and did a Google search for “Borys” and “Bend Me, Shape Me.” Despite the fact that the reviewer felt disappointed with the character depth and thought the ending seemed rushed, he did have a few good things to say and ended his commentary with: “”It’s weird reading a novel and being satisfied and disappointed at the same time.”
This is the only 3-star review I’ve ever received, but I find it wasn’t as painful as I thought it might me. You might say I also am “satisfied and disappointed at the same time.”
If you’re looking for a quick, easy read with an intriguing plot and interesting subplot, then I do recommend you pick up a copy of this novel. There are many things to like about Borys’ writing style and content wise Bend Me, Shape Me has a fair amount of meat for you to feast on. With gritty and harsh moments, you’ll be drawn into the story and constantly wondering ‘what’s next’.
I am, Indeed gave Bend Me, Shape Me a 4-star review and had some great things to say, particularly about Snow and Jo as characters.
Snow’s “determination to protect her brother and survive against horrific odds is a testament to her strength.”
“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.
I hope you will click through to read the whole review, but here is another little taste of the a 4-starry goodness:
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.
This update to MJ Joachim’s review sounds like kind of a big deal to me. Click through to read the whole blog post above and tell me what you think. Am I silly to be so excited about this?
Last week I posted a link to a review of Bend Me, Shape Me by M.J. Joachim. While she had many good things to say about the book, she concluded at the end not to add the book to her Recommended Reading list. While I was disappointed, I was happy with the many things she did like about the book.
Snow and Jo were not done with the reviewer, however. Recently MJ wrote this note on a review she did for a John Grisham book:
Note: I added an update to my recent Bend Me, Shape Me review. This book touched my heart and prompted me [to] read and conduct further research about homelessness. Consequently, I published another book review for Danielle Steel’s book, A Gift of Hope, today on my Effectively Human website, and have added Bend Me, Shape me to my Recommended Reading List
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