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Puppet Child    by Talia Carner order for
Puppet Child
by Talia Carner
Order:  USA  Can
Mecon Hudson, 2002 (2002)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Talia Carner in Puppet Child has delivered a very disturbing scenario. She writes knowingly and believably of pedophilia. Her action-packed novel (hard to believe it's her first) kept me turning the pages long after I should have turned off my bedside light. Rachel Belmore discovers that her husband is sexually abusing their tiny daughter Ellie. And so begins years of fighting her husband and the system for total custody of her daughter.

This is a fast-paced, action-packed, breath-holding novel told mostly through crisp dialogue and Rachel's dark thoughts. Her husband is heard little but lurks in the background of each page and, without his realizing it, orchestrates Rachel's every move. The failure of the judicial system to protect Ellie is maddening to contemplate. The pedophiliac actions of her father are grotesque. The reader (meaning me) wanted to rant at the system and rave at the torture of the child.

Puppet Child is written without wails of pity for the mother and child. It tells its story as it might have happened. The emotion comes from the reader. This is a book that will not be finished, put down and forgotten. It lives with you, and makes you thankful if you yourself were never abused. It's a dynamic book that should be read and then handed around to friends. This is not just one child's story.

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