Wild, fearless chests by Mandy Beaumont
Hachette, 2020. ISBN: 9780733643033. 224pp.
(Age: Adult - Older adolescent) Mandy Beaumont has created a most powerful and disturbing collection of stories about women. The treatment, in both sexual and physical abuse, the repression, hurt, and nastiness inflicted on women is vividly described. Often horrendous in its impact on the characters, and literally creating a response that is challenging, it would be impossible to read this collection and to go on with everyday life without wanting to change a society that is seriously almost beyond bearing.
Stories of abuse can evoke memories for so many women, whether it be physical, verbal, sexual or a combination of abuses. In these stories there is no choice for a reader to disregard what is happening, with the suggestion of such powerful evidence. The writer's intention is clearly that we must hear and understand what is happening to women, so often, in this world in which we live.
This is a small but monumental book with a distinct and very powerful call to action by both women and men, to no longer hide what is happening today, and what has happened to so many women in the past. It is clear that we are called to support Mandy Beaumont's call to action, to speak out loud, to bring this issue to the world, to no longer hide it or to be given a panacea of family care and medication that recognises only the issue or the offence but does little to re-create a life that has so often been violated in the extreme.
Not suitable for young readers, I would suggest, because of the awful, and very disturbing emotional nature of some of the offences and the terrible repercussions on the women. This is certainly a suggested read for adults and older adolescents, both male and female. Beaumont makes it clear that what has gone on for centuries, extraordinarily still continues to happen in this supposedly informed, caring modern world. She is making it clear that the issue of abuse of women is so vital, it should be spoken of, loudly and truthfully, if we are to care lovingly and decently for the young women growing up in our society.