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Alex & Drew by Justin South
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Alex & Drew

by Justin South

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This story set in Australia is super sweet, despite the harrowing issue of severe emotional and physical child abuse it covers, and written in very flowery language. That made it difficult for me, at times, to reconcile the horror of the content with he way the author wrote about it. As a result, I am in two minds about this book.

On the one hand it is a great hurt-comfort read, where the main character (Alex, who tells the story in first person) goes from a hopeless, painful existence full of horrors no child should have to face, to a dreamlike perfect live that sounds utterly unrealistic. Since he has suffered so much beforehand, it feels wrong to begrudge him this, but it was a little much.

On the other hand the lack of realism meant I was outside the story half the time, wondering whether ADHD was really he issue, whether it made someone behave as Alex said he did, and what illegal substances all the people in his small town were on for everyone to ignore how abused Alex was? I mean, not just the neighbors, but the hospital, police, and anyone else? And that doesn't even go into Alex's curiosity about sex with Drew, while all his experiences so far have been violent and horrible.

All in all, this reads so much like a fairy tale (due to above-mentioned lack of realism), that I ended up taking it as such. And in that sense I did like this free novella. But be warned - you'll need a ability to significantly suspend your disbelief for you to be able to enjoy it for what it is. Not to mention the ability to stomach some graphic descriptions of horrid scenes of abuse. ( )
  SerenaYates | Oct 19, 2017 |
3.5 star review by Lily, posted at ScuttlebuttReviews.com

Justin South certainly put his heart and soul into this story, each sentence in this book certainly is an evidence of his heartfelt dedication to the plight of children who are abused.

Alex and Drew’s story initially left me feeling totally chocked up and very emotional. This part in the story focused on Alex’s feeling of betrayed by those who were meant to protect him no matter what but instead they abused him in every sense. As I read this part, I felt Alex’s utter despair, pain, and distrust. This part was very painful for me to read, but then Justin changed his story line and focused on Alex’s recovery and stayed that way. It seemed almost like the writer wanted to acknowledge and respect young Alex’s pain and then move onto his healing process with a focus on the power of love and self-determination to move forward.

I felt a little disappointed that there was not much about his family after the event. I think part of my disappointment was coming from my rage over Alex’s pain and I wanted to see his family suffering for what they did to him, and I was denied this! I also wanted to see Alex raging and demanding satisfaction for his pain and suffering, but it seems Alex was emotionally more grounded than I was. After some self-reflecting, I realized where Justin was coming from: This story was not about abuse, but about personal growth. Recovery. The focus was not about rage and anger.

I also would like to add that I find the dialogue between Alex and Drew a little too sweet for my taste, but again I can see what Justin is doing. He wants to bring a balance to his story so that his readers will not be struggling with despair and hurt. I then noticed some issues with syntax but I again understand. He was trying to speak from Alex’s point of view, a youth who never had opportunity to complete his education and had some developmental problems.

This story is set in Australia so be prepared for the Aussie slangs and Aussie-English. I must say, I really like this because I consider myself as an Australian who is also happy that Justin appreciates the healing powers of our Aussie icon yummy “TimTams” and used this tasty treat in the story of Alex & Drew. ( )
  ScuttlebuttReviews | Jun 23, 2014 |
I just couldn't connect with this story. The dialogue was oddly formal in places while the narrative was 'slangy'. The MCs seemed a lot younger in the flashback to their first meeting and I was surprised to find out they were 19 and 18. ( )
  jules0623 | Mar 31, 2013 |
I just couldn't connect with this story. The dialogue was oddly formal in places while the narrative was 'slangy'. The MCs seemed a lot younger in the flashback to their first meeting and I was surprised to find out they were 19 and 18. ( )
  jules0623 | Mar 29, 2013 |
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