BookBrowse Reviews Perish by LaToya Watkins

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Perish

A Novel

by LaToya Watkins

Perish by LaToya Watkins X
Perish by LaToya Watkins
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Aug 2022, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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An elegiac novel about a Texas family reckoning with a long history of abuse.

It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of sexual abuse themselves. LaToya Watkins' haunting debut novel Perish covers three generations of abuse in one family, compelling readers to carefully consider their preconceived notions about what it means and how it happens.

Perish opens in the town of Jerusalem, Texas in 1955, where teenage Helen Jean is attempting to abort the fetus growing inside her with turpentine procured from a cousin for this purpose. The abortifacient doesn't work, and Helen Jean falls into a fit, during which she hears a voice tell her to "Bear it or perish yourself." She resolves to never attempt such an act again, regardless of the consequences or the provenance of the child.

The novel then jumps forward to 2018. Helen Jean is dying. Her grandchildren, Alex, January (Jan) and Lydia are orbiting her home ...

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