I’m fully aware that I’m throwing a book with a heavy subject matter at you guys even thou I’ve said I wanted to keep this blog chill. That’s the way literature is. You take the light stuff with the heavy. The Boy From the Basement by Susan Shaw is one of the heavy ones.
The world Charlie knows is the basement of his house. He’s there because he’s been bad and Father put him there until he’s ready. One night Charlie goes outside to pee and locks himself out of the house. After fainting, he finds himself in a hospital and in a new house with a stranger. Charlie is certain this should not be happening or else father will get mad. Not to mention the spider is always watching him.
This is a book told from the POV of the kid. That’s actually a great idea since what better way to see the damage done from abuse than by the abused. This can, however, go wrong in so many different ways. Shaw actually treats this topic with the respect and delicacy it deserves. We get an abused kid who does show signs of being abused both physically (bad shoulder) and mentally (the spider.)
Let’s talk about the spider for a second. I’m no psychologist, but I think the spider represents Charlie’s dad. You see, every time Charlie sees the spider he feels afraid. Not to mention it makes an “ihmmm” sound. The idea that his dad is constantly watching him is part of the abuse. Charlie’s dad has ingrained into his head that every movement he makes is wrong and the only right things to do are what does not make dad mad.
Of course, the book isn’t perfect. You see, we never really find out what Charlie did except he played outdoors in the rain and got the house dirty. Maybe? Also, the big scene near the end (won’t spoil it) seems a bit too unrealistic.
The Boy From the Basement is a rather good book about an abused kid. There are some problems that keep this book from being great, but it is worth looking at for the curious.