Monday, 19 November 2012


Will continue to write the odd post until someone discovers this site exists. Just had an email chat with a recent new friend today, Renata Barcelos, and decided to look at her blog.  What a surprise I got!!  Not only a talentend writer but a gifted sculptress in marble as well.  Check out her's fascinating and clearly the work of someone with a very artistic temperament.

I have just read her new book (My Sore Hush-a-Bye) and wrote the following review:


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5.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing, if Harrowing, Read., 16 Nov 2012
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I am a seventy-five year old man, reasonably well educated and psychologically sound. For the past few evenings I have been inhabiting the mind of a socially inept teen-age girl. This should have been an alien landscape for me, a place where I would have expected to be bemused, awkward, perhaps even uncomfortable. I have just finished Renata Barcelos's new book, 'My Sore Hush-a-Bye' and, thanks to the writing skills of Ms. Barcelos, I found the experience fascinating.

This is a book that can be read on several levels. The writing, simple, direct, fast-paced, is cleverly pitched throughout to represent the internal musings of a young girl. On the surface, the naive, unsophisticated retrospections of this simple black girl are mundane in their very ordinariness. But lurking below the simple tale of Camille's life with Uncle Bob is a burgeoning foreboding that is never explicit but hurtles inevitably towards an unspeakable truth. Such is the writer's skill that, despite the fact that we are seeing the victim's existence through her own rose-tinted viewpoint, the reader remains in constant dread that explicit and unsavoury details must inevitably present themselves. There are places in the book where I would rather not have continued reading for fear of what might transpire but throughout Barcelos relies solely, and with great effect, on the power of suggestion.


Subtle though the clues are, however, it does not take the reader long to divine Uncle Bob's character and to realise that all his kindnesses are simply part of the pervert's 'grooming' process.

Despite the artful simplicity of the writing, My Sore Hush-a-Bye can also be read as a serious examination of the Stockholm Syndrome. This syndrome refers to a group of psychological symptoms that occur in hostage victims, the most common of which is the victim's adaptation to the perspectives and behaviours of the captor, usually resulting in an emotional dependence when the captor shows any kindness. Close reading of My Sore Hush-a-Bye reveals many of these unconscious behaviours in Camille who comes to believe that Uncle Bob is the only person in the world she can trust and love.

The reader begins to fear for Camille's safety when it becomes obvious that she has "grown too old" for her paedophile captor. What awful fate does he have in mind for her, especially when he finds a 'new love'? This ratchets up the tension and readers will find themselves racing through the rest of the book seeking, hoping for, an outcome different from the tragic end that so often occurs in such situations in real life.

This is not my normal choice of reading material but in the safe hands of Renata Barcellos it is an absorbing, if harrowing, read. I can safely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read and is willing to move away from their customary genre.

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