Renata Morris always seems to be running away from something. From her family, from her past, from love. Much of the time, not sure what she is running from or why, Renata makes choices that are often not in her best interest, causing her to feel guilty and ashamed. When the murder of her brother, Ervin, a one-time art prodigy and drug addict, sends her over the edge and into a suicide attempt, she is admitted to a mental institution where she meets a psychiatrist who wants to help her put away her shame and guilt.
The author introduces us to Renata at the death of her brother and allows us to walk with her as she recovers in the hospital and subsequently moves to start over in a new city. As she begins her new life and becomes involved with a man who seems to be able to give her everything that she has never had, she continues to deny herself permission to recognize and deal with her past.
Michelle Jackson allows the reader to walk the journey of self-realization with Renata as she finally faces the root and causes of her shame and guilt. As Renata wrestles with the revelations she is receiving, the reader has the opportunity to contemplate the social and emotional consequences of difficult topics such as rape, incest, and multi-generational poverty and how they can break down families in a way that feels both painful and authentic.
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