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on August 25, 2007
"You looked at Callie and me from over our mother's shoulder... I hoped you wouldn't try to wriggle out of the embrace, because in fact our mother seemed to be in a good mood. She was humming. Cocaine? New man? There were a few possibilities, and I didn't care which one it was. Maybe we'd have an okay evening."

Those are the words of Matthew Walsh as he tells a story of survival to his youngest sister Emmy. Matthew has decided to write down the events as they happened so his sister can read them some day. She was so young at the time, he worries that she might not understand the details of their early life in the hands of an abusive mother.

Nancy Werlin writes a powerful novel, THE RULES OF SURVIVAL, about three children and their struggle to live normal lives surrounded by chaos and abuse. Their crazed mother Nikki, most likely bi-polar or manic-depressive, has created a topsy-turvy environment for her family. One day she's treating them to a gigantic pancake feast at IHOP, and the next she disappears without a trace for days.

Matthew, Callie, and Emmy soldier on alone until help arrives in the form of a sympathetic boyfriend. He enlists the help of Matthew and Callie's father and their mother's sister to rescue the kids from the chaos.

Werlin creates a realistic and terrifying picture of life through Matthew's eyes. Readers will remember the story well after the last page. This is a book worth reading for adults as well as teens.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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on August 20, 2011
Gold Star Award Winner!

"You looked at Callie and me from over our mother's shoulder... I hoped you wouldn't try to wriggle out of the embrace, because in fact our mother seemed to be in a good mood. She was humming. Cocaine? New man? There were a few possibilities, and I didn't care which one it was. Maybe we'd have an okay evening."

Those are the words of Matthew Walsh as he tells a story of survival to his youngest sister Emmy. Matthew has decided to write down the events as they happened so his sister can read them some day. She was so young at the time, he worries that she might not understand the details of their early life in the hands of an abusive mother.

Nancy Werlin writes a powerful novel, THE RULES OF SURVIVAL, about three children and their struggle to live normal lives surrounded by chaos and abuse. Their crazed mother Nikki, most likely bi-polar or manic-depressive, has created a topsy-turvy environment for her family. One day she's treating them to a gigantic pancake feast at IHOP, and the next she disappears without a trace for days.

Matthew, Callie, and Emmy soldier on alone until help arrives in the form of a sympathetic boyfriend. He enlists the help of Matthew and Callie's father and their mother's sister to rescue the kids from the chaos.

Werlin creates a realistic and terrifying picture of life through Matthew's eyes. Readers will remember the story well after the last page. This is a book worth reading for adults as well as teens.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse