I received a Kindle version of One Among Us in a Goodreads giveaway. There was no obligation to review the book.
Like many others who have reviewed this book, I struggled with how to “rate” it. It did hold my attention, because of the brutality of the topic.
There are monsters out there. Monsters like the main perpetrator in this story, who, at the end of the book, was described by his wife as “a man of honor” who “always put his children and his family first. He was a good man who never harmed anyone in his life.”
The author was a victim of child abuse and rape. The stories that she writes reflect the reality of that existence, with a hope of raising awareness that these people exist in our world.
The writing, however, in my opinion is not great. I agree with other reviewers who state the some of the characters are rather flat, emotionally. And there’s this odd foreshadowing that happens at the end of a lot of the chapters. I’ve certainly read worse, so I maintain my three-star status, which, in Goodreads-land, means “liked it.”
Maggie Clarke is abducted from a local mall, at the age of eleven. She is a pretty young girl, and is taken by human sex traffickers. The means of abduction was the clever use of a puppy to entice children outside the mall and draw them away, and forcing them into the back of a van. As I read the abduction scene, I easily visualized the food court of our closest mall, and could see it happening. Maggie had been allowed to go get a piece of pizza without her mother.
What happens to Maggie over the course of the next nine years is unthinkable. While the events in this story may have been exaggerated for impact (I’m not actually sure whether they were or not, to be honest), the truth of the matter is that human sex trafficking is a reality, and there are horrible things happening to children out there.
As to what can be done about it, I’m not sure. But we can be aware, and we can, somehow support efforts to stop it.
Does this story have a happy ending? Some might say yes, but I say, how could it? There is no “happy ending” for a child who was taken from her parents and forced to do things that most of us could not even imagine, for nine years of her life.
This book is not for everyone, and certainly not for young people, I would say. It is brutal; it is horrific. I’m not sure what genre it is supposed to fall into, but I would call it horror. I actually just checked Amazon, and they list it as horror. I agree. So there you go.