Book Review: Hush by Dylan Farrow

  PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020...


PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge Prompt: N/A

Other PS 2020 reading prompts this would satisfy: A book that's published in 2020, A bildungsroman, A book with a map, A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it

TW: abuse, child abuse, violence, death, blood, gaslighting, sexism/misogyny, classism

I was really hopeful for Hush and thought I would like it. It's marketed as one thing, but as I read it I really got much different vibes. It's not that I didn't like the story, but it just wasn't what I anticipated it would be. The initial synopsis talked about it being a #metoo movement, but it doesn't address sexual assault or misconduct. Instead the focus of the story is more about gaslighting, and certainly does have several feminist themes.

Shae has lived in Montane her whole life, a place where written word is forbidden and a strange disease called The Blot can take a life. When she was younger, her brother was taken by The Blot, and now what she embroiders is oddly coming to life - is she telling the future? She's afraid she may be infected and wants to protect her town. But when tragedy strikes and leads back to the Bards (the "law" of Montane, mostly always men), Shae heads to High House (land of the Bards) to confront them. But when she gets there, she learns that there are secrets abound she couldn't even imagine.

Something really cool about the book is that it's written by activist, and daughter of Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow. She even shares a personal note at the end of the novel, which is incredibly moving and powerful.

The novel itself, however, has a bit of a pacing problem - I felt it was so slow in the beginning, the chapters hopped around so quickly, and then the ending was so fast-paced and abrupt. It was definitely so condensed as a fantasy novel, too, which was so weird. It definitely calls for a follow-up novel (which Goodreads confirms will happen), but for Hush, I felt so dissatisfied by the ending. It truly didn't wrap up enough for the first book of the series, and honestly, the cliffhanger is rough and has a million jagged spikes at the bottom of the fall.

I was also so wildly annoyed by Shae's character. From page one, she's so clueless and naive. She never put two-and-two together until the very end and it basically had to be shoved in her face. This isn't to victim-blame or say that the situations she was in were her fault. There is certainly a ton of gaslighting involved, but a character that totally clueless is so unbelievable it made it hard to root for her. 

"But that’s the thing about words. Once you’ve said them, there’s no going back." - Hush, Dylan Farrow

The plot was pretty interesting and I did enjoy the story. In fact, it reminded me a lot of a more feminist 1984. I just wish it was executed a bit better. The main character's lack of awareness just annoyed me and I don't think I would want to deal with it for a whole other novel.

Goodreads rating: ★★★☆☆

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