September 14, 2013
Review: White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler
White Chalk is a realistic gritty novel about a young girl who is lost in the world. There are no rainbows and kittens for 13 year old Chelle. There isn't even really a hero to rescue her. It was a really depressing story.
Yet, it's a story I would read again and again. In some ways White Chalk reminded me of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Rose Green. Particularly in its stark portrayal of a reality, which few are willing to talk about.
While parts of the story are shocking, never did it feel like Tyler was going for the shock value with the situations she put Chelle into. There also are no romantic leanings to any of what was happening. Usually I do not read books where there are teacher/student sexual relationships. (I didn't read Gabriel's Inferno for the longest time because it featured a professor/graduate student relationship.) While the teacher/student relationship in White Chalk is pretty front and center, it was not romanticized, but written in a way that is true to life. These relationships happen in real life, but White Chalk did not condone it and in fact shows the harm that comes from such relationships.
I want to make mention of the ending (without giving away too much of the story). White Chalk did not end the way I had hoped it would and while I'm saddened by that, the ending did fit the story. And I know in real life many times that is the ending teenage girls face. It doesn't keep me from hoping that maybe, just maybe, the moment after the last word was written my ending happens. And perhaps that is Tyler's intent with ending it where she did.
Through out the story I wanted someone to rescue Chelle. I wondered where were the guidance counselors or social workers. I know her parents didn't care, but there had to be other adults that saw what was happening. But too often in society we turn a blind eye or rationalize what we are seeing so we don't have to get involved. I don't think you can read White Chalk without at least questioning what could you do and wonder if there were times you didn't act.
If you don't shy away from realistic gritty stories, then White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler is an excellent, emotional story that you won't want to put down.
ebook & paperback (272 pages); Published July 2013 by Evolved Publishing
Read: August 2013
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