by Swati Avasthi
Published by Ember Release date : January 24th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Family, Young Adult
Source: Library | Format: Paperback
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A riveting portrait of life after abuse from an award-winning novelist.
Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret.
He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret.
At least so far.
Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. Award-winning novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again? Readers won’t be able to put this intense page-turner down.
Split, is the perfect example of what I like to call – one of those rare and precious finds. A book that will always sit close to your heart.
I had never heard of his one before coming across it while browsing shelves at the library. However, I was nervous about it at first, since it deals with abuse. Is this a new subject for me to read? No. But it is a sensitive one.
This story focuses on one single question. What happens after you are able to escape an abusive household?
Seems like a given answer, right? If you are in an abusive household, or abused yourself, you leave. That is what most people would think. But that’s not always the case, and Swati shows us that it’s not so simple, not so black and white, that nothing is what it seems. And getting out is just half the battle.
After being kicked out of this house for good, Jace goes in search of his estranged brother, whom left without a backwards glance 5 years prior to escape the same abuse that Jace now has to deal with. Showing up at his door with nothing but a few dollars, he tries to put his old life behind him and move on.
Jace is one of those characters that some would say, you shouldn’t like. Yet, you do. He isn’t really a bad person, per se, but he isn’t good either. The title, Split, is the perfect word to describe him. He is trying to find himself, after living and witnessing physical abuse his entire live. He is trying to move on, so the violence he feels won’t define him. And whether you agree or disagree with some of the things he had done, I admired that about him. He knew things had to change, and he vowed to do it.
Honestly, he’s the perfect example of YOU LIVE WHAT YOU LEARN. He’s a statistic, and while I hate to place a number on a person, that’s exactly what he is. But he doesn’t want to be and his vow to change was genuine. Before, he would protect this mother from his father, now his mission is to protect others from HIM. It was so hard and heartbreaking being inside his head and watching him struggle.
Another aspect of the book was the brother, Christian. Now, Christian was harder for me to empathize with. Which in turn, makes me feel like a horrible person. Was his life easy? No. Did he deserve a second chance at life? Absolutely. But from a personal stand point, I can’t fathom how one could/would turn their back on the people in their life, to better their own. Especially when that person now NEEDS you and is standing right in front of you. Then again, when he starts to open up to Jace, you see a different side. His side.
Overall what was the hardest thing for me was watching them both struggle to get their mom out. Her denial, her refusal to leave and the excuses just broke my heart. It was portrayed with so much realism it’s hard to witness. In literature and real life. That sometimes (most), you can’t help the people you love because it could put them in more danger. You can’t help someone, if they don’t want help.
My Peeve –
I loved it. Split is an eye-opening, heartbreaking story – about love, life and moving on. I closed this book with a heavy heart, tears in my eyes and full of hope. I highly recommend this one.
Have you read Split? If so, what did you think?
Domestic and child abuse are the two sensitive subjects in Split – which in turn, made this hard to read. Do you shy away from novels that are sensitive subjects for you?