Review: Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Small DamagesSmall Damages by Beth Kephart

Published July 19th 2012
Hardcover, 304 pages
Philomel
Source: Borrowed From Library

Synopsis From Goodreads:

It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.

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Small Damages is beautiful and very descriptive. The writing is very different, and I know it won't appeal to everyone. I almost want to compare it to novels written in verse. It has that same sort of flowy, free form feel to it. It was very easy to lose myself in the story and imagine I was in Spain and experiencing everything right along with Kenzie.

The only downside for me was that I thought it lacked something by not having enough direct dialogue. Some conversations were not well defined, and sometimes they were a little hard to follow. Several times I had to re-read parts to figure out who said what. But that was minor and didn't take away from my overall reading enjoyment.

Kenzie's pregnancy is not romanticized or glossed over, and she faces a lot of really tough choices. As the narrator, Kenzie never lets the reader forget that she was shipped off to Spain by her mother to hide her pregnancy. Kenzie feels no shame in being pregnant, but isn't strong enough to stand up for herself and what she wants. Kenzie's boyfriend, Kevin, seemed to be a likable character in flashbacks. However, he is not supportive of Kenzie. All he can say is "We should have been more careful". Then he has the nerve to ask her "What are you going to do?" He really has no care about Kenzie going off to Spain to have the baby and give it up for adoption.

I loved Estella, the cook that takes Kenzie under her wing in Spain. She comes off very gruff, but she has a huge heart. Family is everything to her, and she is fiercely loyal. Estella really helps Kenzie open her eyes, mind, and heart to new possibilities. Because of Estella, Kenzie realizes that her decisions and actions affect the people around her.

I think I have a small crush on Esteban. He has a very strong presence, and Kenzie is drawn to him over and over again. He's just there. Quiet and steady and dependable. He listens, he never judges, and he gives Kenzie the space she needs to decide her future.

Being in Spain completely changes Kenzie's outlook on life and what could be. I felt that she experienced so much character growth. She really came into her own started to take charge of her own life. It was as if she had finally woke up to her reality and decided to make her own decisions, rather than having someone else decide everything for her. I loved seeing her 'grow up'.

I really, really liked the ending. Didn't see it coming at all. I was surprised - in a good way - and I found it very fitting.

Small Damages was full of beautiful scenery and wonderful characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves pretty language and imagery. It probably won't appeal to anyone who is looking for tons of action since this is really a character driven story.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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3 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this one before, but it sounds like a good one. Happy Reading!

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  2. on my wishlist . when it is out in paperback i am getting it . gr8 review

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  3. Throne of Glass. Thank you for the giveaway!:)

    ReplyDelete

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