Review: Shut Up

Shut Up
Shut Up by Anne Tibbets
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This isn’t about her! It’s about me! I’m doing this because I want to! I’m doing this. Me!

Twelve year old Mary can’t do anything right, even when she’s not doing anything at all. Mary’s sister, Gwen, finds any excuse at all to yell at Mary, belittling her and making her feel worthless. What’s worse, Gwen’s gotten pregnant and decided to marry The Creep, causing her family a massive amount of stress – which leads to more yelling at Mary. After enduring for as long as she could, Mary finally plans to escape – which may be the true undoing of the entire family.

Written in mostly Mary’s perspective, Shut Up gives its readers a first-hand look at bullying and abuse. Mary gets teased at school, picked on at home by her sister, practically felt up by The Creep, screamed at and beat by her mother, and yet endures all of these things while her father and brother seemingly sit by and watch. The true strength of Mary’s character is remarkable.

A captivating page-turner, Shut Up brings to light all those little family intricacies that can plague even the most well-intentioned or perfect-seeming households. Readers ride the waves of emotions along with Mary – cheering for her when she does stand up for herself, saddened by her failed attempts to fit in or be nice to Gwen, angry with her at her entire family for the abuse she takes for unknown reasons, enjoying those quiet moments without Gwen – empathizing with Mary’s choice of escape, even if it’s not the best course of action. But Mary endures and overcomes, showing that even in the darkest storms, there is light ahead.

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