Where Honesty Never Ends.
Disclaimer: Extremely Slight Spoilers.
Vermin by Adrienne Silcock
Note: Originally, Vermin was not available in electronic format, so Casey Prism and No Labels Unleashed received hard copies from the writer to conduct the reviews. As of January 26, 2014, Vermin was made available on Amazon Kindle. No Labels Unleashed’s review has been updated to reflect the change.
The Review Board is here to share our thoughts on Vermin. First, we have Casey Prism.
Because you should never judge a book by its cover.
Poor ol’ Glory has not had an easy go of it. Seems her lot in life is one of a victim, abuse and misunderstanding following her as she goes. In Vermin, we find our main character a self-proclaimed bag-lady of sorts, with a penchant for booze, poor social skills and a humble, hidden case of illiteracy.
Once she left an obviously displeasing life behind, Glory fell into the cracks of our imperfect world to be ostracized and condemned to the common mistreatment that those who find themselves not-so-well-off tend to fall. And her anxiety towards social contact does little to help her situation.
Her only family, known only to the reader as ‘sis’ and is neither concerned nor caring as one would think a sister should be. At times, she’s downright rude and nasty, so I’m not even going to grant her any more time in this review.
Glory’s one friend, Jim, is very mercurial, one day full of conversation and the next not to be bothered but for a friendly wave of acknowledgement so Glory can be sure she’s done nothing wrong. Jim ends up being the best friend Glory has, the only one she can count on, and the only one who tries to help her out.
When pawing through the trash one afternoon, Glory meets a new, rather unconventional friend in the form of Darren, a young boy. Darren manages to pilfer a few prime picks for Glory when nobody’s looking, and the two quickly hit it off. It doesn’t take long though, before Glory realizes that Darren has secrets of his own, and demons with which she’s familiar.
Perhaps Glory relates so well to Darren because in so many ways, she seems to be stuck in the same developmental age as he does. Regardless, Vermin delves into many topics that are so often ignored today. The story can easily fall into a nature vs nurture debate- how easily certain things could’ve been addressed for both Glory and Darren with just a little love! Or, looked at from another angle- does the stereotype one gets accused of long enough find a way to stick? Surely if you demand something of someone for a long enough time they will eventually deliver, and even believe it themselves. Or is it simply a matter of erasing pre-conceived notions of how we treat people and to look a bit deeper. With Vermin, I can say it’s all of these and more. I felt this story, felt the good, and the bad. The happiness, the shame. Even the disheartened acceptance.
A handful of short-stories grace the end of this book, each well-written and relating (although some more than others) towards the theme of Vermin. Overall, I felt Vermin was a well-written and executed piece, and it’ll leave the reader with an entirely new perspective.
I give this 8 out of 10 TRB Stars.
Now we go to the Unleashed One.
The title threw me a tad. I would have thought (without knowing the premise) the work was about aliens, since the title hints at science fiction.
Before I get into the meat of “Vermin”, which is the main story, I’d like to share my thoughts on some of the stories that followed “Vermin”. The author added these stories because she felt they connected with some of the themes brought out in “Vermin”.
T’ Ain’t Long Until Saturday: I was definitely able to see the struggle with loneliness once a loved one has passed on. It reminds me of my grandmother, who has had a hard time coping since my grandfather died of cancer two years back. Nan has no interest in having a new beau but would like someone to talk to from time to time.
The Girl: This definitely fit the outcast component of Vermin. It is a microscope into the judgmental nature of small town folks and puts into question, “Which is the more tolerable sin?” This is reminiscent of the conflict in “Notes on a Scandal.”
Angel: The whole feel of this story is quite telling. George caused me to feel conflicted. He had ways about him that were bigoted, yet weren’t in an overly hateful way. His interaction with David demonstrated that he was slightly open to change, which was why he was a little upset once David left.
To me, those were the works that really did well to compliment Vermin. “Robert’s Garden” is borderline; “Beating Mediocrity” and “Something to Tell Tommy” seemed slightly off.
Now let’s talk about Vermin.
Vermin was such an endearing story between Darren (the little boy) and Glory (the main character). Glory’s jargon and her takes on different situations has a “laugh at my pain” factor. I loved that she was willing to step out of her comfort zone to be there for Darren.
In addition, the banter between Jim and Glory made me smile. Yes, they were good friends, but the way Glory cared about Jim mirrored something slightly deeper. The most striking thing is that Jim didn’t have to necessarily live this way (he had resources), yet he chose to do so.
Vermin also demonstrates that two people can go through the same thing and yet have different perspectives. One would think that Sis and Gloria would have a closer relationship since both went through abuse. However, Sis’ way of dealing with the tragedy was putting up a fence of denial and treating it like it was “no big deal.” Sis contends that it didn’t impact her but it did. It rendered her emotionless because she equated displaying emotion with being abused. Sis learned as long as you don’t stir the pot, you have less of a chance of backlash.
Gloria took the brunt of the abuse, yet Sis doesn’t seem the least bit grateful. She is judgmental at almost every turn, deeming Gloria crazy and failing to put the pieces together at the damnation the abuse has done to her sister. How a girl interacts with her father marks the building blocks of how she will interact with other men in the future. Gloria is the product of fighting internal and external demons that have contributed to her overall stagnation. Not everyone has the strong will to crawl from abuse’s wrath unscathed; some stench lasts a lifetime.
Unleashed Verdict: I award this 8.5 out of 10 TRB Stars.
I like the way Vermin outlines social stereotypes and prejudices. Although I applaud what the writer was attempting to do with the additional stories, I believe Vermin does just fine standing alone.
Now let’s take the total and divide by 2. Looks to be 8 out of 10 Stars (8.25 to be exact), overall!
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