- Paperback: 324 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (March 31 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780553378221
- ISBN-13: 978-0553378221
- ASIN: 0553378228
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,749,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Touched: A Novel Paperback – Mar 31 1997
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From the Inside Flap
is an ordinary twelve-year-old boy about to drop a bombshell that will devastate his small town family. One day he rides his bike home after school, finds his mother in the kitchen making dinner, and speaks aloud the secret he's been keeping for a year, "Jerry Houseman's been touching me." Robbie has been molested and the Young family will never be the same. From that moment on, the novel unfolds with inexorable power. The story is narrated in four parts: first by Robbie's mother, then by Jerry Houseman himself, then by Houseman's wife Linda, and concluded by Robbie himself fifteen years later, when he has returned to town for a high school reunion. Each voice is remarkably persuasive and utterly convincing, and the result is a novel that is impossible to put down as it is impossible to forget.
About the Author
Scott Campbell was raised in Jackson, Michigan. He is the author of two novels, both of which have been adapted by others for performance—one for the stage, one for the screen—and of a nonfiction collaboration with Phyllis R. Silverman.See all Product description
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This is not an easy read. At times you find yourself flinching from the honesty and pain the characters reveal in their lives. Yet it should be read, if only for the way the author is able to convey a shocking, disturbing crime in realistic and non-judgemental terms.
The title 'Touched' seems at first exactly like it sounds. As you read, you find that word showing up again and again in many different ways. It is up to you to interpret the meaning. Is it literal, being touched physically? Is it the way we can all touch each others lives emotionally? Is it about being a touch off in the mind? This novel finds many ways to get under your skin.
The ending is the only downside in an otherwise tremendous work. As we see Robbie as an adult, he seems less vulnerable and harder in a way. His anger is understandable, but it is offset from the tone of the rest of the story. As it stands, though, this is a powerful work that demands to be read.
This is not a book one would care to read casually; the topic is too disturbing. Yet Campbell treats the subject matter sensitively, and I found it amazing how well he could take on such wildly varying points of view. I recommended this book to two other friends, one of whom used it for his clergy book discussion group. His question was how would you minister to each of these people? I would find their responses to ministering to the molester interesting, for the story left me, as the previous reader, not at all saddened by his prison death.
I'm a journalist that covers the courts, and I've witnessed many intergenerational criminal sex cases. I even roomed with a man who told me about when he was molested at age 12 by an older man, how at the time he was a willing participant. And I've witnessed cases that leave me with no doubt about the predatory visciousness of the perpetrator or the shameful harm inflicted on the child.
This book is merely a snapshot of a very complex phenomenon, albeit a very good snapshot. Love it, hate it, think it puerile or simplistic, whatever your reaction may be to this book, it is exceptional in its ability to provoke thought.
The child molester himself is presented as complexly as the other main characters, a man who tried to eradicate his urges through extensive therapy, but who ultimately failed. And the boy himself, whom we hear from as adult, has reactions that may surprise the reader.
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