Book Review: One Foot Wrong

One-Wrong-Foot-714075.gifOne Foot Wrong

Sofie Laguna

Other Press

195 pages

She took a piece of the little sun and put it in her mouth.  Orange water dripped from one corner. ‘Want a piece of the sun?’ she asked me.  In The Abridged Picture Bible Eve took the red apple and met the snake.  Mary held the orange piece out to me.  The snake hissed and bit Eve in the neck and it was the end of freedom.  ‘Have some!’ said Mary.  I took the orange piece from Mary’s hand.  I put it in my mouth and waited for the end of freedom.  Orange water jumped through the air as I chewed.  The sun shone inside my mouth.  Mary smiled and her lip that was twisted up with her nose smiled too.  The bell rang and we walked back to the schoolroom swallowing orange.

One Foot Wrong, by Sofie Laguna, is an enigma.  As you can see by the above quoted passage, from page 47, the book seemingly makes some sense and no sense throughout.  Hester is a young girl at the beginning of the book and she is confined to her home by her parents, whom she refers to as Boot and Sack.  Her parents strive to keep her enclosed in the family home with very little exposure to the outside world.  Hester is kept from school and ventures out of the house only to visit her ailing grandmother.

Boot and Sack claim to want to protect Hester, but their actions speak otherwise.  Hester is abused physically, mentally and sexually and she begins to lash out as a result.  Her parents eventually decide once she is older that she needs to be committed to a mental hospital because they can no longer care for her.  The few people who do come in contact with Hester, Boot and Sack all empathize with Boot and Sack because they seem as though they are trying their best for their daughter.  Meanwhile, the reader is left to dissect Hester.  Is she really grudge_girlmentally incapacitated?  Surely her environment has stunted her emotional growth, but what is the extent?  Would Hester have been a “normal” child had she not been subjected to her home environment and the abuse of her parents?  It’s never possible to say for sure.  At times it seemed as though Hester did have a subconscious grasp of the situation, however tenuous, but then I would become convinced that she was too far gone mentally.  This is what made One Foot Wrong a confusing, enigmatic book.

It is definitely the type of book that will leave you with a strange feeling in the pit of your stomach.  The more I think about what I just read, the less I am able to make heads or tales of it.  Which I suppose is a good thing!  Laguna generally sticks with YA fiction–this book was her first foray into adult fiction.  Personally, the writing style of One Foot Wrong lended itself more to YA fiction in my opinion.  And perhaps that is what Laguna intended it to be–some of the circumstances in the book would be too heavy for an adolescent to handle, which could be why this book is labeled as adult instead of YA.

I also found it interesting that Laguna is an actress.  I didn’t discover this little tidbit until after I finished the book, but it was interesting because at numerous points throughout the book, I kept imagining the book as a screenplay.  And while I generally would never say this about a book after finishing it, I think this book would be a fantastic movie and much better than the book.

Due to some of the parts in the book, as well as the cover (absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it?), this book fit in well with the RIP IV challenge, so I’ve added it to my evergrowing list!

rip4300

I was unable to find any other blog reviews on this book, althoughThe Printed Page did post a small blurb about it here.

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3 Responses

  1. Hey there, I just read this book too. Interesting language she uses, it’s not quite like anything I’ve read before.
    Anyway, thought you might be interested in reading my own review.

    http://jasmineslibrary.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-one-foot-wrong-sofie-laguna.html

  2. just finished reading and mentally processing this book. i found myself thinking the same thing as i read it, that it would make a fascinating movie with the potential to exceed the source material. it made sense when i read she was an actress in the author’s blurb, after i had finished the story. maybe that’s what she was aiming for with this story.

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