4.5 out of 5 stars.I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Doing so does not sway my review in any way.
As you've seen with the synopsis, Shelter deals with physical abuse from a father to his family. I've been one of the lucky ones that grew up in a loving family that did not endure such cruelty, but I've always been well aware that it happens more often than it's heard about. The author, Pat Aust, hits on all the main issues involved with abuse and though it's centered on abuse from a father, those who have abused by their mother or other family member could easily relate with the story.
Miguel, aka Mike, can't really remember a time when the family didn't have to perform a certain way for his father. Things had to be a certain way at all times or the family knew that things were not going to go well for them. Small things, that one wouldn't even put a thought into, were not small in his fathers eyes. The events started escalating and he finds that his mother and sister have planned an escape when one day his mother rushes them to a shelter.
As time goes on, the author shows just how much an abuser affects a family, even when they are not together anymore. The actions and reactions of the innocent start showing signs of how the abuser acted. The cycle of abuse can be seen, and the repercussions from the abuse are evident. Those that had been abused find that their way of dealing with stress and anger, in a way, matches the way the abuser acted. Slowly you see these actions coming under control until the innocent realize just how much destruction the abuser has done to not only them, but their family as a whole.
This is a book that is easy to follow, and can be read by readers of any maturity level and they will come away with an understanding and hopefully some key points that they will remember and be able to help others with. This book is not an emotional tearjerker, but you will find yourself connecting with the families in the book and feeling a sense of protection towards them. There are some violent scenes, but nothing that would warrant a warning or up the age level for reading.
This story goes full circle of the shelter life. From just starting out, to the family finding their way out and back into the world. Their life has changed, they've been through a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but together, minus the negative member, they will make a new life together.