Everybody who is a parent knows that being a parent is hard. There is no manual when you leave the hospital with your baby on how to care for them or discipline them. In this day and age, there is no book on how to protect them from social media and cyberbullying. And that is the exact premise of Herta Feely’s novel, Saving Phoebe Murrow.
The focus of this story is Phoebe, a teenager who just wants to fit in. She doesn’t want her friends to turn on her or be the butt of their jokes. She wants to be noticed and wanted by the boy that she likes. Her mom, an attorney, sends her to private school in an attempt to make these things happen for her. They are well-to-do and socialize with families of a similar stature.
Starting out with the main bullying incident, Feely works backwards in time to explain how everything came to be as told from many characters’ points of view. If you think bullying is bad, the idea of cyberbullying is even worse. No way to connect it to a certain person and it can go on for such a long time without anyone else knowing. As a parent, that is my biggest fear. And I sense that Feely wrote this story to make more parents aware of the signs and how to be more involved in what’s going on in their children’s lives.
It for sure opened my eyes to see how easily (and quickly!) it can happen and escalate. I know I will never be able to completely shelter my children from computers and the Internet, but this book was eye-opening to the motivations behind teenagers’ actions and words and even adults’. Fans of domestic dramas will enjoy it for sure. And those hoping for a manual on raising teenagers.
About the author:
Herta B. Feely is a writer and full-time editor. Her short stories and memoir have been published in anthologies and literary journals, including The Sun, Lullwater Review, The Griffin, Provincetown Arts, and Big Muddy. In the wake of the James Frey scandal, Feely edited and published the anthology, Confessions: Fact or Fiction? She was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Artist in Literature Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for The Trials of Serra Blue. She has also received an award from American Independent Writers for best published personal essay for a piece on immigration. In Saving Phoebe Murrow, Feely continues her commitment to activism on behalf of children. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University, Feely is the co-founder of Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to saving children from unintentional injuries, the leading killer of children in the United States. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and cats.
Thank you to Smith Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.