Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Title: Small Damages
Author: Beth Kephart
Release Date: July 19, 2012
Pages: 304

It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple. 

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.



Small Damages is not like any other book I have read. Instead of being loud with emotion, author Beth Kephart weaves her words slowly and softly to create even more impact. I wasn't sure how I felt about the novel at first, because it was slow and in a peculiar writing style. However, towards second half and definitely towards the end, I felt the emotional pull that the author had intended for her readers.

There are many, many, many stories released about pregnant teenagers and they all kind of mush together into one. Small Damages, however, was not just a story about the difficulties of teen pregnancy, but the difficulties of loss and carrying on living, self discovery and leaving the past behind. 

Small Damages was a story that really made you think. Kenzie was not your typical optimistic protagonist, which is understandable given that her father just died and her mother sent her to Spain to give up her baby. However, in the end, I understood her character, and I appreciated that she wasn't just another unusually happy girl in the midst of a storm of pain.

I didn't realize until after I had finished the book that the novel is set in 1995. The eighteen year gap should have been obvious to me, but Beth Kephart did such a great job of making the novel universal and timeless that I had no idea. 

In the end, I enjoyed the book, but I am confused by the ending. I think it might be obvious if I reread it, or maybe it's a Titanic ending, a "decide for yourself" type. Either way, I would LOVE a sequel to this book, I would definitely pick it up.

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