I listened to the audiobook courtesy of the New York Public Library through Overdrive (I haven’t been won over by Libby yet). It was the read I listened to during my commute this week. It was a little over three hours long and I really enjoyed Thomas Perry’s narration. At the time I selected this read for my drive, I didn’t realize that it is from a trilogy (Hazelwood High). With that being said, it completely worked as a standalone. I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything that may have occurred in the first book (Tears of a Tiger).
Forged by Fire began and ended with flames and had many moments of tribulation in between. From a young age, Gerald endured emotional and physical abuse at the hand of a substance-addicted mother. Then when he loses his aunt, the woman who’d cared for him and raised him up, he became well acquainted with the sort of grief that leaves behind an emptiness inside. Later reunited with his mother, her husband, and his step-sister, he suffered the wrath of an angry, abusive monster.
This was a tough read for me because of the difficult topics that were covered. Especially the scenes that involved molestation. It made me cringe and it triggered emotions that I was not ready to experience. Still, Sharon Draper deftly tackles the trauma and through Gerald, shows the power of quiet strength and resilience. He is not consumed but rather refined by the fiery darts that life has thrown his way. It is his courage that will inspire the reader. I agree with Amazon’s recommendation of ages 12 and up. When I used to work with 7th and 8th grade students, Forged by Fire and basically anything else by Sharon Draper was the thing to read and it made me happy to fuel their love for reading.
Sharon Draper | http://sharondraper.com/
Simon Pulse | http://www.simonandschusterpublishing.com/simonpulse/
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