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25 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

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Speaking Truths


Speaking Truths Cover

ISBN13: 9781450214377
ISBN10: 1450214371
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Grady Harp, September 5, 2011 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
Lost and Found: A Powerful Novel by Dayna Hester

Dayna Hester arrives on the literary scene as a highly polished artist with her remarkably compelling book SPEAKING TRUTHS. Yes, she comes to this state of relating the story of a kidnapped child, who under the force of abuse envisions himself as someone he most assuredly is not and in returning to his pre-abducted life goes through stages of memory reorganization, well prepared: she served as a court stenographer hearing criminal cases and language daily in the courtroom, she received her degree in English and Philosophy from UCLA, and completed studies in the psychophysiology of trauma. From out of all this preparation she has delivered a book that is not only spellbinding as a novel but also a book that teaches the readers the intricacies of dealing with youngsters who have been abused to the point of kidnapping and then returning to society: one cannot help but find some similarities between the story of Landon Starker/Tyler Roberts and that of Jaycee Lee Dugard, the girl kidnapped at age 11 by Phillip Garrido and for 18 years was kept as a sex slave in a shack, forced to bear children to her perpetrator.

We meet Landon Starker as a mouthy truant troubled teen, into drugs and sociopathic behavior, whose father Bob abuses him physically and sexually in their filthy trailer in Nebraska. Landon's best friend talks him into driving to a drug deal and the two boys are caught by the police, fingerprinted and released. But the FBI shows up at the trailer having matched Landon's prints with those of a missing child named Tyler Roberts, takes him to a staging facility where Landon slowly learns and grows to accept that was kidnapped by Bob and is being returned to his parents in Colorado Springs, CO. The tale weaves slowly but inexorably through the many people who are involved in the re-education of Landon to Tyler, and Tyler accepts his birth parents and new family. Bob is imprisoned and new information arises about the history of 'Landon's' supposed brother K.C. - a mystery that unravels, ending in a courtroom where Tyler is ultimately able to get in touch with his emotions and his sense of self and begin the long road to recovery.

The story is a painful one to read but Hester's ability to create completely credible characters makes it flow as our emotions are pierced and punctured. She presents the people in 'Landon's' life with such precision that we can smell the filth and feel the tragedy, and yet when she brings her main character under the care of a home for abused children every one of the forces - FBI agent, therapist, even janitor and other companions in the facility - are completely three-dimensional and bring us to an understanding of the psychodynamics of the life of our main character. Her introduction of the parents of Tyler is smooth for us and understandably difficult for Tyler, and the trial that Tyler must endure is some of the finest courtroom drama since Harper Lee. Dayna Hester quite obviously has prepared well for her first novel and the result is a polished work that begs to be made into a film: it is obvious which actors should play the parts and which director could bring this off! If there is a flaw in this book, for this reader it is the last chapter that tidies up too many loose ends - a bit too 'make nice' for a story this powerful. But for many readers this kind of resolution is very much needed. Read this book. It is brilliant!

Grady Harp
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Product Details

Hester, Dayna
Literature-A to Z
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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Speaking Truths New Hardcover
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