As promised, here is the long awaited review of Spin the Plate - a wonderful short story by Donna Anastasi. How did I get it? Well, I signed up on LibraryThing a few weeks ago, and entered the member giveaway competition and this is one of the first books that I won. Before I get into the summary and review, here is some info about the author - Donna Anastasi that I got from her website, http://www.spintheplate.org :
"Donna Anastasi wrote the popular Complete Guide to Gerbil Care in 2005 (Bowtie Press) and a chinchilla guide in 2008. Spin the Plate is her first novel. She lives north of Boston in Hollis, New Hampshire with her husband, two teenaged daughters, and an ever-changing menagerie."
The summary from GoodReads:
Spin the Plate is the story of Jo, a woman who has come through a traumatic childhood not battered and broken, but powerful and enraged. A tattoo artist by day, she roams the streets of Boston nightly to forget her past and feed her two passions: rescuing mistreated creatures and inflicting bodily harm on their perpetrators. Unassuming and unafraid, Francis, a man harboring his own back story, is the one person Jo can't seem to scare off. Right from the start, he sees clearly the caring soul buried deep within Jo's hard exterior and puts into motion a succession of life-altering happenings for them both. A compelling story on living as an incest survivor and the how-to's of faith, love, and healing.
And now for the review:
Spin the Plate short story, is a story that cannot be described as a set genre - there are so many aspects to it. When I started reading it, I did not know what to expect from Spin the Plate - I was a bit taken aback by Jo and her brashness. But then you start to realise that no one is born that way, but rather you become that way because of something that happens to you. And then we learn what happens to Jo to turn her into this hardened person.
When Jo meets Francis she is vexed by his questions - because nobody wants to talk to you for no reason, there has to be a catch. She agrees to go out with him - I think this is because she sees that he is not a threat to her, and realises that she could pummel him in an instant. Jo who is so tightly guarded against everyone opens up to Francis, telling him the whole story of the sexual abuse she endured from her father. She tells him of her stint in juvenile prison - and we see how that enabled her to be the hardened person that could no longer be hurt by her father.
What really got me about this story, is that Jo did not let her father's abuse destroy her - it hardened her and part of her was crushed, but she was able to move on with her life. I was so glad when she got her vengeance, and I wish that would happen for more victims of abuse. The only thing I did not understand is why she chose to see her father in jail for as long as she did. I suppose it shows how big a person she is.
I love the subtlety of Francis in his courtship of Jo, he was not overt in his intentions, and did not push Jo, because I am sure she would have hurt him if he did. Francis plays a great role in healing Jo and helping her to become the person she is meant to be, taking something from the abuse, but not letting it keep her as the hardened person that she became. He teaches her to trust again, but above all he teaches her how to be loved without being hurt which is the best thing that he does for her.
Spin the Plate is a story of victory and triumph over the sadness that comes from childhood hurt. It shows that even the darkest cloud has a silver lining if you look deeply enough into yourself and make things change for the better.
And now for the suprise:
If you like Spin the Plate the short story, it is available for free on Smashwords, or can be purchased on Amazon. Follow this link to Smashwords. And if you like the short story like I do, then buy the full novel.