Jenny Rat
by Martin Simons

"‘Rat is in me, part of me. That drawing is foul and filthy, but it’s done, it’s there. It’s true.’"

Michael Ingram is a reclusive architectural engineer in his late twenties. Unfond of his family and without any friends, his only source of human contact is Jacquie, a prostitute he hires once a week to come to his house, whom he thinks he loves. As their relationship grows colder, a young girl arrives on Michael’s property during a terrible storm. Violently ill and incoherent, the girl is on the brink of death. Jacquie insists they leave her to die, but Michael brings her inside and calls an ambulance. With no family, no identification, and a complete unwillingness to talk to anyone, the girl’s identity is a mystery to the medical staff and child protective services. Only Michael can seem to get through to her little by little, feeling a strong urge to nurture the young Jenny back from the mysterious physical and psychological damage she has endured.

This book deals with taboo subjects like sexual consent of minors and the faults in the foster care system, which may make readers feel uneasy or uncomfortable at times. However, the overall themes of both parental and physical love in this book are overwhelming. Jenny’s tragic tale unfolds from a complete mystery to one laid bare in order to earn the trust of not only Michael but the reader. By introducing the protagonist immediately as someone who solicits a prostitute, it is instantly apparent that there is no black-or-white morality on display in this story. The narrative is gripping, the characters are powerful and full of life, and for those that can move beyond the immorality on display by both Michael and Jenny, what transpires is a love story that is compelling, fascinating, and not soon forgotten. The struggles and triumphs of this story will profoundly stay with the reader and leave their emotions stirred.


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