Bully and victim.
Tormenter and tormented.
Villain and hero.
Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.
Particularly Freaky Flynn.
Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger’s. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.
But then Flynn and Ellie grew up.
And moved on.
Paula recommended this book and I honestly do not know if I should hug her or glare at her (still with affection of course) because this book emotionally broke me and inspired me at the same time. I am having a hard time reviewing this book, it was such a tough read because it has a sensitive story but on the one hand, the writing was exceptional. However, I must say that the way Ms. Walter told the difficult subject matter was so respectful. The emotions that she evokes through her writing are so intense. You cannot help but feel so strongly for the characters, be it hatred, anger, grief, sympathy, love or adoration. I am at awe at how she could make the reader open their heart to Flynn.
Flynn Hendrick had taught me how to feel. He had taught me how to live. He had taught me how to love.
I have never felt a fierce sense of admiration and protectiveness in a character as much as I feel towards him. I care about him so deeply that I feel so sad and angry to those who treated him so cruelly when he needed care and understanding.
“I hate being alone. I want people to talk to me. I want them to like me. It makes me angry when I try to say something and people ignore me. Or worse they laugh. They call me names. Lots of names. Mean names.”- Flynn
Even now as I think back on it, I swear I have tears in my eyes and my heart squeezes. Flynn, with innocence of a child, was bullied and ridicule I cannot helped but feel disgusted. The flashbacks were told with brutal honesty to what he had been through, it was heart wrenching. The cruelty brought me to my knees. Plus the fact that Ellie, his love interest played a part to it made it harder to process.
You will hate me. You will detest the choices I have made. You won’t understand me at all. You may feel some sympathy. A shred of sadness for the woman I’ve become. It’s hard not to feel bad for the person who has fallen so far. But you will love him.”
This quote speaks the truth but I understand her. She has her own issues being subject to traumatic times in foster care but I do not think that is an excuse on how she treated Flynn. Having a rough past does not give you the right to make others miserable.
“We say that a lot to each other. You and me. It’s always I’m sorry. I’m tired of being sorry. Why can’t we just be nice to each other so we don’t have to say it all the time?” – Flynn
The people she hangs out with are horrible human beings without morals. But it is not just because she is in the wrong crowd. She knows what is right and wrong but I liked that she owned up to her mistakes. She realized what is important in life and tried to change her ways.
“He sees the beauty where others don’t. He hears love when others only hear pain. He gives me the strength to become the person I’ve been terrified to be.”
Reclaiming the Sand has so many important messages. It will stay with you. I commend Ms. Walter for bring Asperger’s into fiction and does it beautifully. As a psychology student, I feel highly emphatic towards people with disabilities. This book highlighted social inadequacies and how society’s failing to help people to properly deal with them. The ending of this book is great but I needed more so I am glad that there will be a second book, Chasing the Tide.
“Some people came into your life and they changed it completely and then they slipped out of it again before you could grab ahold of them. And their presence motivates you and strengthens you and devastates you all at the same time.”
This book touched me, it is transfiguring, moving and heartfelt. The physical ache from sheer and utter heartbreak of reading this book is definitely worth it.