These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
Published January 18, 2011
I wasn’t sure whether or not to expect great things from this book because while the synopsis looked intriguing, a few reviews were disappointing. I think, overall, I found this book enlightening. It certainly dwelled on a lot of serious topics: teenage pregnancy, mental health issues, prison, mother abandonment, etc.
This book came from a few different POVs – the two sisters (Brynn and Allison), Claire and Charm. They all played a vital role that circled around a little boy. The two sisters were nothing alike. Allison was the outgoing one who knew what she wanted and how to get it. She was the popular one. Brynn was the quiet one – always seeking her sister’s approval. In a way, I understood Allison much more than Brynn since I’m the eldest in the family and would, sometimes (emphasis on the sometimes), protect my sisters. My sisters would come to me for advice if they have questions they can’t ask each other or if they can’t ask our mom. So I understood her need to protect Brynn especially since they were only a year apart. However, I can’t understand her need to protect her to that extent. If that situation was for me, I don’t think I could do it. That being said though, I thought she was a great strong female character. She did her 5 years and got out early for good behavior and tried her best to reconcile with her sister and her family. She tried to get a fresh start on her life. I can definitely respect that.
Brynn was someone I could not respect. Yes, she did what her sister told her to and yes, I’m sure that was took a toll both physically and mentally but it was clear from the start that she had some sort of mental problem. After the incident, I can understand why she had to go to therapy and whatnot but what she did at the end with the little boy? That was inexcusable. She clearly needed help and I’m glad that at the end of the book, it was exposed what really happened that night and she was given the care she so desperately needed.
Charm was also someone I couldn’t fully comprehend. I don’t understand how she was able to do what she did – I mean, she had a father who could have fully supported them at the time and the baby was related to her. I mean, she was his aunt. Yet. She did it. And then she kept tabs on him throughout his entire life without ever once thinking about mentioning it to him or to his parents. I don’t know – I found her a little strange to me.
Claire, goodness, Claire. She was so innocent and in her own little world. She had no idea and when it hit her in the face, it took her some time to fully comprehend it which gave Brynn the time to do what her psycho little mind told her to do. It was great how much she and Jonathan wanted a child but it was to the point that it made them blind to the news around them. I’m so shocked that she didn’t even once try to find out who that baby was especially since there were so many news surrounding that incident. I just found her naïve and, to be honest, a little stupid. But, I do admire her tenacity for trying to have a kid and her pure love for children.
The ending wasn’t exactly a surprise since it was mildly hinted at throughout the book but I was still somewhat surprised when it was all revealed. I had guessed at tidbits of the actual story and didn’t connect everything as a whole. Overall, it was certainly an interesting read and I enjoyed the short fast read that it was. I would probably recommend it to those interested in child abandonment with a dash of mystery.