Eloquent Books (2008)
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (1/09)
“Hidden Truths” begins with the story of brothers Wayne and Billy Foster. When their mother is killed in an automobile accident, their father blames six-year-old Billy. The next morning, Wayne cannot find Billy anywhere and his father does not seem interested in looking for him. The police suspect Stan (the father) is involved in Billy’s disappearance, but he is never found and is presumed dead. This leaves Wayne to grow up alone with his alcoholic father, while always wondering what became of his brother. The book then moves on to the Nelson family who has a somewhat similar story although the details are quite different. Mr. Nelson takes his older daughter away after she witnesses a horrible event but he does not tell his wife where they went. This leaves Mrs. Nelson to care for the younger daughter whom she has never really loved. The story then follows each of the children’s lives as they grow up searching for his or her sibling to try to reunite their broken families.
Initially, I did not like how the author transitioned from the Foster story to the Nelson one because it left too many unresolved issues. However, after I realized the lives of some of the characters would overlap, I became completely engrossed with the plot. The author makes the characters seem real by allowing the reader to experience their thoughts and feelings. I could honestly feel their pain and despair and found myself rooting for them to find happiness and success in life.
The author does an excellent job of demonstrating how when families are split apart one child often ends up living in better conditions than the other. She shows children of addicts lose their youth and innocence too fast because they have to learn to take care of their own basic needs for survival. She also explores how they often end up without friends or other support systems because they consider themselves outcasts.
“Hidden Truths” by Brenda Youngerman tells an amazing story that will appeal to a broad audience. It will touch the hearts of its readers for many different reasons. Watching the children overcome past hardships was inspiring and can provide hope for those who find themselves in difficult situations.