The Gulf, written by Anna Spargo-Ryan, is a topical book looking at domestic and family violence, its impact on children and family, and how the community responds. Skye is 16 and her brother is 10. Their mother’s new partner is violent and abusive towards her and to the children. When they move to a rural area this increases and Skye tries to protect her brother while dealing with her own abuse and trying to fit into a new town.
Skye is a strong character who has strong survival skills, but is also dealing with adolescence and trying to find a peer group where she is accepted. Protecting her brother becomes the focus of her energy and she deals with the adult issues of working, safety and being the caregiver. The character of Skye is strong but also shows her vulnerabilities and her own need to be nurtured and cared for.
The Gulf deals with the community response to violence well – people ignoring it, others getting involved, and ultimately a system that is trying to respond as best it can.
I found this book reached into family violence well and looks at the power imbalances, victims and systemic barriers well.