08 March 2012

The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot

We first meet Helen in an Underground Station near Trafalgar Square. We follow her through the streets of London, where she meets a collection of individuals, including Ben, who sets her up with a roof and a few meals. When her beloved pet rat is killed by one of the cats in the makeshift shelter, she decides it's time for her to keep on moving. She hitchhikes north to England's Lake District - famous for its calm and its beauty - and by accident winds up being quite literally rescued by a couple who own a pub. (It turns out that Beatrix Potter once stayed at the same pub.) It is in this place that Helen is finally able to begin to come to terms with her past, a story that the reader uncovers through flashbacks along her hard journey. 

This is a story of sexual abuse, the battle toward self-acceptance and relinquishment of undeserved guilt. This is the story of "one bad rat," who overcomes unrelenting struggle and uncovers her self-worth through the support of strong, loving adults. Recommended to all readers -- and lovers of Beatrix Potter will find something a little extra-special here as well.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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