Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Shut Up by Anne Tibbets

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 108 pages
February 28, 2012, Premier Digital Publishing

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.

Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.

Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.

Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

Source: Anne Tibbets (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Mary was not exactly a kid anymore but she wasn’t a teenager yet. She was in between but she still had the innocence and curiosity of a child. In the novel, all she wanted was to get along with her family – with her demanding and snappy mother and her problematic and cruel sister – but despite her patience and her effort, it wouldn’t work. My heart broke for Mary. I understood her situation because I once thought like her. It is difficult to figure out what adults want and expect of you.

Mary’s family was problematic and dysfunctional. It all started with her older sister, Gwen. Gwen was the pretty and popular who got really good grades. Aside from shamelessly gossiping about everyone, she had another bad habit: she always picked on and lashed out at Mary for the pettiest things. Gwen always put Mary down, making sure that she knew that she was inferior. She has been doing this for as long as Mary could remember. That kind of habit left a bad side effect: Mary really did thought of herself as inferior. This is one of the things that really made me loathe Gwen. She destroyed her own sister’s self-confidence.

I am not against authoritative parenting but when it comes to the point that the kids are hit for the smallest reasons, they bleed and they have to limp for several days afterwards, I have to say that I’m firmly against it. I believe that it’s no longer rational. The unnecessary punishment feeds the fear that the children harbor.

As things got more problematic with the stress of Gwen’s upcoming wedding, things spiral out of control. Mary’s mom easily got snappy and angry. Her dad walked into his office and read away. Her brother kept out of the way. Gwen was even more vicious and cruel. But then Gwen moved away with her husband, leaving their home silent and peaceful for once. No shouting. No demands. No complaints. Without Gwen, Mary could finally breathe a sigh of relief. But that’s not the end of it.

Mary’s home was no longer a sanctuary. Negative energy, rejection and harsh punishments, anger, hatred, desperation and frustration blended into a dangerous mix that finally pushed Mary to run away.

Shut Up is a painfully honest, raw and strong debut, filled with the truth behind closed doors, pulsing emotions and heart-wrenching moments. I highly recommend this to readers of YA dark contemporary! Don’t miss out on this one.



  1. This sounds like an incredibly sad book. And what you are describing there is not "authoritative parenting" but systematic abuse. Abuse from every side of her family, which culminated in destroying every facet of her being.

    I wouldn't be able to read it without becoming incredibly angry. I'm glad there are these kind of books out there though!

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Lately, I've been finding myself lashing out at secondary characters; so much so that I have a difficult time giving an unbiased opinion about the book as a whole. This book might just have those characters I mentioned. Still, based on your review, I find myself incredibly curious about this book.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Wow! This book sounds amazing, and honest, and raw. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. I will have to get myself a copy.