Corruption of a Plaid Skirt is a starkly effective, fictional account of sexual abuse by first time novelist Lisa Beth. The story is told as a first-person narrative through the eyes of the lead character named Lillie. Using a combination of shared memories and real-time experiences, the reader is witness to her terrifying journey from one abusive relationship to another while at the same time relentlessly fighting for her own sense of self-acceptance and peace of mind.Ironically, the most compelling aspect of the book is its sense of balance. The first half of the story is a tragedy with a hint of romance. Lillie digs deep into the vault to bring back memories of the first few assaults that she suffered at a very young age and notes how the same, reprehensible types of men seem to keep finding her in her adult life. The second half of the book is much lighter and romantic in nature while carrying with it the burden of its tragic roots – and no, I won’t offer any spoilers.
In essence we’re treated to two different stories that could almost have been released as separate novels but, somehow seem stronger as a single unit.
As interesting as all of the characters were, some of the most poignant scenes are the ones where Lillie affords herself time for quiet reflection. Readers who have been the unfortunate victims of any kind of personal assault may well find themselves with a lump in their throats when Lillie privately processes her dreams – both the nightmares stemming from past experiences and the occasional, hauntingly enigmatic nocturnal visits that she gets from an elusive “maiden and warrior”.In addition to tackling the difficult topic of abuse, the author also drives home the universal need that all people have of maintaining a viable support system socially. We’re reminded that these people are really what make life worth living and serve as a means to lighten (if not sweeten) one’s existence.
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