Book Review: There Are Things I Know by Karen B. Golightly

There Are Things I Know (Fairlight Moderns): Golightly, Karen B.:  9781912054602: Books

Title: There Are Things I Know

Author: Karen B. Golightly

Genre: Literary Novella

Number of Pages: 119

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes

There Are Things I Know was one of those books that was almost impossible to put down, because as soon as I started it I found it hard to focus on anything else until I found out what happened to the main character. I think the author did an outstanding job developing the main character and making the reader care about him in a short amount of time and I hope this novella doesn’t go totally under the radar.

The narrator of this book is an eight-year-old boy named Pepper, who has autism. Pepper is very quiet and has a lot of trouble reading social cues or relating to other people. One day on a class trip Pepper gets overstimulated and breaks off from the rest of the group, which turns out to be a life-altering mistake when he’s abducted by a man who tells him he’s his uncle and his mom has died.

‘Uncle Dan’ drives Pepper across state lines and tries to create a new life and identity for him, attempting to fill the void left by the son he lost custody of. ‘Uncle Dan’ isn’t a pedophile but he’s a volatile alcoholic who hits Pepper when he becomes unmanageable. Pepper starts to realize his mom probably isn’t really dead but he can’t figure out how to get back to her, monitored by his captor and hindered by his communication difficulties.

Pepper is an endearing character but he’s also very frustrating at times, because there’s a million instances where he could have gotten help but balked or had a lot of difficulty reading the situation. I spent a lot of the book wanting to yell at him because his ‘uncle’ enrolled him in school and there were so many times he could have gotten help.

There were moments that I felt strained credulity because the ‘uncle’ wasn’t the brightest light and I would have thought his behavior would have raised more red flags. However, the author did a commendable job bringing Pepper’s voice to life and the character of his abductor was very believable too.

His behavior was scary and disturbing but the writer refrained from making him a ‘cartoon villain’ type of antagonist. I wish the ending had had a little bit more to it but overall I found this to be a suspenseful story with a emotionally satisfying pay-off.


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