— Yolanda, Storytimer from Brazil
This is a compelling but thought provoking, disturbing story with believable characters, vivid scenes, sharp descriptions, convincing dialogue and confidant writing.
This is extremely well-written, and credible. I could hardly bear to read it.
— Nicole, Storytimer and author of Chosen
The Character navigates difficult territory with conviction and ease. More impressive is the writing itself: clean, telling and, despite the emotion, never overstated. A most deserving read.
The child’s voice sounds authentically young, despite that she is too sad and wise for her age, a product of experience, ‘If I had stayed home instead, I wouldn’t have one single good memory of Daddy’. This is handled with care, and more sensitivity than some other treatments I’ve seen of the subject. The girl’s insecurities, the psychological damage are illustrated without exaggeration or drama, just the quiet desperation, the guilt and the shame slowly eroding everything in her life. The father manipulates her feelings with the cunning these kinds of people seem to have an instinct for.
An important subject. Beautiful writing.
A tear-jerker and soul mover, this book is not easily forgotten.
—– Randy, Storytimer and author of Around the Bend.
— Liam, Storytimer and author of Rapid Challenge: Dawn of a Question
I want to handshake you personally for creating such a precious book as yours. I was moved when Anna finds the strength and courage to overcome the abuse through her friendship with a mysterious storyteller. Despite being a sensitive subject, you avoided overly traumatic language and described the subject with grace. In the story, hope was achieved through special friendships which are free to each individual struggling with trauma. This book reminds the reader that friendship is an effective outlet to express your emotions and that it can transform your life as well.
—— Fletch, Storytimer and author of Stories from a Leaking Mind
This is a striking, disturbing and brilliantly told story. The child’s voice is perfect.
Perhaps I’m being presumptuous, but yours is a classic and striking example of art as redemption. Certainly I do not know if you or somebody close to you experienced the physical and psychological torment featured in your fine novel, but if you/they did, this book is a reverberating “I survived and shined!” The book itself, so far, has rocked me to the core.
This is really well written. I lost myself in the story immediately. My heart was in my mouth as I reached the first ‘abuse’ scene. You’ve handled a delicate topical in a professional manner and I found this both powerful and poignant.
— DP Walker
A determined, sensitive and talented pen captures the voice of a ten-year old, to build the strength of narration on the authenticity and sincerity of the tone on a topical subject. The sheer innocence of the ‘speech’ makes its double entendres goose-pimply. “Daddy I hard to say no to … mama has told me not to talk to strangers”: spine chilling, pithy sentences with a minimum of fuss. The interspersing of the present tense reveals a controlled use of language for effect, focusing on the strength of the past over the present to reveal the turmoil of inner feelings unraveling. It has been meticulously plotted, parables segments are put to good use. “The Character” will sit with the best of this genre. I give the author my deep respect for courage, sensitivity and talent
—– Azam Gill, Storytimer and author of Blasphemy!
This is the first book of its kind I’ve read that achieves the near impossible balance between (in my humble opinion) an author’s story, and a victim’s story. There is enough cool writer’s detachment here – and skill- to make me feel empathy and not sympathy. The writer comes across as an author, not a victim. In so doing, similar victims are well served – by writer’s talent, which lingers, and not Kleenex, which we throw away. Most commendable,
—- a Storytimer
Compelling, and fascinating.
— Joy J, Storytimer and author of The Wildfire
The Character tells a very disturbing tale in an extremely innocent fashion. Anna’s story is all the more powerful because of this, and the approach is first class.
Poetic, and sensitively told.
Heartbreaking, but full of hope. Excellent.
Hugely emotive subjective matter that made me shiver more than any horror novel. Wonderful prose takes us on an emotional rollercoaster from fury to sadness. This is a brilliantly conceived book and Anna is fully realised – tender, vulnerable yet strong. It all makes for very disturbing but essential reading.
The Character presents a realistic exposé that breaches the reader’s comfort zone. The writing is unemotional, but not without feeling, the pace appears relaxed but in a way moves forward relentlessly, and the prose is economical but still descriptive and powerful. Certainly not an easy read, due to the feelings of sympathy and empathy it evokes, but definitely not one to be missed.
This is definitely a story worth telling, but damn hard to read!
I read this with tears streaming down my face. It is such a different read, looking at abuse through the eyes of a child.
Extraordinarily well written, and terribly moving.
A novel that displays very complex thinking and care.
The Character is a wonderful book to enlighten children who are being physically, emotionally or sexually abused. I can only imagine that the pages of this book would teach a child how to handle and cope with that situation.
—- Cynthia, Storytimer and author
I have mixed emotions about this book. As a high school librarian I was disturbed by how graphic some of the abuse scenes were portrayed. I felt like the emotions of the book would have been just as strong without all of the detail. In the first part I had a hard time and wasn’t sure I wanted to finish reading the book. I am glad that I did though. By the end I felt like it was all pulled together very well.I really liked the stories that Ash told and how he helped Anna use her talents and creativity as a writer and story-teller to help pull her through her childhood.
The Character is a fantastic book. Anna’s voice is realistic, and I sometimes forgot she was a fictional character. I wondered several time how she was able to deal with her abuse, and remain a creative young girl with a talent for telling stories. Then I realized-stories were what helped her. The book was excellent and it’s message was great. I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a well written novel that will make you think.
—- Catherine D.
This is a deeply touching book.
— Chris G.
The Character is a vivid account of the thoughts, fears and innermost feelings of personal inadequacy of an abused girl. She blames herself for everything, but learns how to survive and deal with her day-to-day life. She is stupid and nobody likes her, people stare at her. One day the girl meets someone who will become her best friend, who opens her eyes, as well as her heart. Ash is a grown man, a story-teller. He teaches her about the simple pleasures life has to offer … the song of a bird, a kite, a tree, the clouds, and trust. Ash tells her wonderful stories and encourages her to write them down. Eventually she writes her own stories and finds she’s good at it. This makes all the difference to her. She is good at something. One day maybe she will become a story-teller too.
The Character is written in first person and is a sensitive account of psychological, physical, and emotional damage, as well as the inner strength found within one young girl.
—– Tika N.
The Character is a very sad story that brings to light the atrocities of sexual child abuse. I can’t say that I enjoyed this book because the subject matter was so disturbing, but it did make me stop and think about all the terrible things that happen to children and often go unnoticed. I believe that even though this book tackles a tough subject, it is an important book because it does bring alarming attention to a distressing and repulsive issue.
Ms. Johnson has a gift for capturing her characters’ voices. I was captivated by Anna’s character and her story. Anna’s narration was endearing and heartbreaking
This book is wonderfully written and touched me on many levels. It took time to read through but was well worth it. I highly recommend this book to all survivors
I was so touched I cried through most of this book but it helped me to better understand someone special in my life that I have tried for years to understand
—- An Amazon.com Storytimer
Three days after finishing it I am still waiting for my heart to unbreak itself.
Truly an amazing book. Out of five stars, I give this incredible little book six.
I really enjoyed reading your book. Thought enjoyed isn’t exactly the right word. There were times when I almost had to put it down, but I kept going, because you made me so invested in Anna’s story. In fact, I stayed up until 12 last night so I could finish it. I am planning on giving a copy to a friend and I hope she can take away something from it, like I have.
I really, really wanted to meet Ash.
—- Amy M.
I have never read anything more truthful in my life. When I read these books, its like giving my thoughts a voice.