Being only 13 and having to plan a getaway to the forest with her younger sister, to escape the abuse of her stepfather, is a heartbreaking scenario. It is with this premise that the book begins The Refuge, in Mick Kitson, launched by the publisher Intrinsic.
Daughters of an alcoholic mother, salt and Peppa are neglected at home, as their mother prefers to spend her days drunk beside her partner Robert. Sal ends up taking on the mission of taking care of her younger sister at a very young age and it doesn't take long to receive night visits from her stepfather. When Robert threatens to abuse Peppa too, Sal makes a drastic decision and devises a meticulous plan to kill him and escape.
The initial idea of The Refuge it looks very good and very daring, but it gets lost by treating little of the abuse itself and focusing much more on survival classes in the jungle. Narrated by Sal, the plot already begins with the two of them in the forest and with several detailed explanations of the tools and techniques necessary for them to survive, with only a few paragraphs devoting themselves to the murder and very little is discussed about the trauma that the poor girl suffered .
As a little adventure, the book does work, but it seems almost offensive to put a topic as strong as rape and a murder committed by a child, and barely talk about it. The psychological issue is left unturned as the story goes on normally, with care only to give enough devices to justify how two children will stay alive in a situation that adults rarely can handle. New characters appear to help and the plot continues with details that do not seem essential, while the past is left behind and the important subject on which the work is based is left out. Even the resolution takes place in a hasty and uninteresting manner.
With so much to be addressed, The Refuge it could be a deep book and full of relevant questions, but ends up getting lost in a shallow adventure where, however detailed, everything happens very fast and fails to empathize with the reader.