The Rules of Survival

January 19, 2012

Realistic Fiction
Nancy Werlin
Reviewed by Acala H.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars

“She pretended to be normal, our mother… [But] there were cracks in her behavior. A weak man would be hypnotized, paralyzed. (As far as I can tell, this is what happened to my father.) A bad man would be attracted to her on a more equal basis. And a good man, of course, would run like hell. Murdoch eventually ran.”

Description of Nicole O’ Grady Walsh: a cruel, vicious woman and the mother of Matthew (Matt for short), Callie, and Emmie. For them, it’s a day- to-day struggle to survive their mother’s unpredictable temper. Until Callie and Matt find Murdoch, a man who could help them escape their mother’s wrath. After seeing Murdoch help a kid from being abused by his father, Matt becomes hopeful. Then, something surprising happens, Murdoch starts going out with Nikki. However, when Murdoch inevitably breaks up with their mother, the miracle ends. Nikki becomes more violent and ruthless, making Matt wonder if there is any hope at all. Matt depended on Murdoch to be his hero, but it seems as if Murdoch has run out on Matt and his sisters. Callie says that their family should just forget about Murdoch and go back to the way things were. Yet, after what happened, Matt isn’t ready to forget. However, with Nikki spiraling out of control, will Matt have to disobey his sister and take matters into his own hands? What will happen to Callie and Emmie? Will Matt and his sisters ever twist out of Nicole’s icy grip?

I loved The Rules of Survival from start to finish. At first I thought it was going to be a boring book because the beginning wasn’t very eventful, but I’m glad I kept reading. When I got to the middle of the story, the plot was so gripping I just had to finish it. The story is told in first person as Matt writes a “letter” to his youngest sister Emmie. The way Matt tells the story shows how he felt during the situation even when he didn’t express his feelings. I rate The Rules of Survival a 5 out of 5 stars because of the gripping storyline, the daring characters, and the despicable climax. Anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, drama and adventure, will enjoy this book.

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