Review: Chalk Houses - Tracy Clark

Talon has a secret, growing up she has never felt that she had a mother and that she has had to become the parent as her mother forgets important things like school lunches, dinner and even when her birthday is. Now at sixteen, Talon can't wait to leave home as she enters into a creative writing competition using her absent mother and life at home as the basis for her essays. Her way of getting out all the pain is to write it down. During the book, Talon also starts to receive emails from her Aunty T and starts to learn more about her mother's family as every time she tries to ask about her mother's past and where she came from - she gets shot down. Also living next door in a similar situation is Gabby, who is seven years old. Gabby is living with relatives, but of course, they abuse and neglect her too. Throughout the story, at times I wondered whether Talon had made up Gabby and that it was her projection of what her life had been like. However, near the end, we discover Gabby is in fact real - as real as you and me. Chalk Houses was an emotional read, and some of it brought tears to my eyes especially the child neglect of Gabby. I guess for me in another life; I might have gone into the field of Social Work and working with children as that is one of my passions about reaching and loving those children that need it. I did love the way that Chalk Houses ended, and it shows readers that every kind gesture can make a difference in a child's life.


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