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Fault Line Hardcover – September 1, 2003
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Seventeen-year-old Becky Martin never thought she'd be one of THOSE girls. After all, she doesn't fit the profile. She has two loving parents, close friends who care about her, even a great gig as an amateur comic in the San Francisco comedy club scene. Becky has always considered herself too smart and too driven to ever become involved in an abusive relationship. But up-and-coming comic Kip Costello is impossible to resist. He's cute, hilarious, and worships stand-up as much as she does. Yet, as Kip begins to demand more and more of her time and attention, Becky is forced to admit to herself that her relationship isnt as perfect as she works so hard to make other people believe. "No matter how much work I did in the relationship, it was never enough. Making him happy was my top priority, but it seemed like the harder I tried, the more I failed." The time for jokes is over as Becky faces some serious and hard truths about Kip, their relationship, and her own hidden insecurities. Janet Tashjian's refreshingly different take on a sobering and pervasive issue for teens rings solidly true. By adding Kips often agonizing diary entries to Beckys narrative, Tashjian has crafted a novel that promotes both empathy and understanding about adolescent abusive relationships. (Ages 14 to 18) --Jennifer Hubert
Gr. 8-12. Tashjian, who made a splash with The Gospel According to Larry (2002), goes high concept once more, this time recounting the story of 17-year-old Becky, an aspiring comic. Becky finds Kip at the clubs, where he is also looking for laughs. At first he seems to be the ideal boyfriend. Soon, however, he's pulling her hair and throwing her down. Tashjian is such a strong writer that this comedy-tragedy almost works, but certain things never ring true. Kip's background in an abusive family makes it possible that he has similar tendencies, but he never really seems the type. Perhaps this is because he keeps a diary (though he writes on paper towels) and comes across as too insightful and earnest. That Becky takes the abuse for a time, breaks up with Kip, and then is sucked back in seems more plausible. It's Becky's career choice that seems most unlikely. She's hardworking, but certainly not amusing enough to land a big MTV tour. Whatever its flaws, this will still garner plenty of readers, who will be taken with the story of a good boyfriend who goes bad. Ilene Cooper
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Top customer reviews
Five months into the relationship, he's editting her comedy skits (getting upset when she doesn't use his punchlines), pushing her closest friends out of their circle (saying they're lame or holding Becky back), and waiting outside her two jobs after her shifts to drive her home. He calls her ten times per day (or more), IMs on the computer when she's working on her homework, texts her throughout the day... and it's endearing at first because she is so excited to talk to him all the time too.
It slowly starts to get even further out of control and she struggles to keep it a secret and to figure out if it's LOVE she has with Kip, or if it's OBSESSION. I've been at the crossroads myself. It's very confusing when you're inside. Many times, the answers aren't clear until you've been removed from the situation for many months, sometimes years. Most girls go back time and time again because they think "he will change" or "it was my fault that time" or "he didn't HIT me, so it's not abuse".
This is a serious topic for teenaged girls and I recommend it being read by teenaged girls. The flow of the story was a bit rushed. I didn't believe Kip would do what he did the first time... I felt like it was pushed in order to move the story along too soon. But, otherwise, it was a decent story.
The book Fault Line by Janet Tashjain deals with a girl named Becky Martin who is struggling in an abusive relationship while at the same time trying to balance her career as a standup comic. It analyzes the steps of how men can take control so easily. Through this process of controlling and abusive behavior, she comes out as a new person who is stronger, wiser, and majestic.
Starting off, Becky is a very self-conscious girl who relies on the opinions of others to form who she is. For example at the start of her career as a standup comic a simple insult of her performance caused a major breakdown. She thought she was a lost cause and could never have been worthy of any real career in this profession. Also as she gets deeper into her relationship with Kip she feels that she isn't worth anything unless she has a boyfriend. Becky stays in the relationship after repeated physical and emotional abuse because of the peer pressure to have a boyfriend, which comes from her friends. Finally, because of the constant insults from Kip she started to become isolated from her family and friends. After this she only plummeted into a world of insanity and suicidal. She even went as far as keeping dead animals in her bedroom. Of course by the end of the book her skin became thicker. When an insult was made about her performance she took it as constructive criticism instead of a remark dealing with the quality of her character. Also Becky discovers that a woman doesn't need a boyfriend to be accepted by her friends. She even starts giving lectures to other women who were previously in abusive relationship just as she was. Finally because Becky starts to come out of her isolated world of insanity she finally starts interacting with her friends and family once again. This leads to a healthier environment in which she takes more risks in her career as a standup comedian.
Becky Martin not only becomes a stronger individual but also uses her new wisdom to impact the lives of others going through these same circumstances. In a lecture given to women in the same position she says that, "A relationship is a lot like a hot bath. The more you get used to it, the more you realize it's not so hot..." She means that in this instance it can be hard to determine how dangerous the situation is because of how manipulative the man can be and how easily he can get away with treating women violently. Also Becky starts to go after her dreams of college and a career as a comedian. She realizes that in order for things to happen she must do it herself by focusing on her grades and working on her act as a comedian. Finally, Becky becomes more confident with herself and creates a clinic for abused women. Through this she obtains the tools necessary to help others in need.
Because Becky becomes wiser and stronger through the hard times of her relationship with Kip she becomes an icon in the world of jokes and laughter as well as an icon to the people she works with at her battered women's shelter. Her transformation of a simple struggling comedian to a majestic and influential individual shows how extreme her character has changed form the beginning. For example in the beginning of the book she had stage fright and constantly feared rejection from the people she was entertaining. By the end her act onstage was solid and took the rejection as a way to figure out how to improve her performance. She even lands a spot on MTV where she is able to perform some of her material live. Also with the women that she helps through her shelter she is able to give them a voice by making this issue more aware to the public through her fame as a comedian. Finally through her struggles she manages to achieve everything she wanted; acceptance to a good college and a career in the comedian business.
Becky Martin never expected to be so violently transformed from the self-conscious teenager to a famous comedian who advocates the abolition of abusive relationships. She not only changes her resume, but changes a person as well. She does this by becoming stronger, wiser, and more majestic as a person who was once weak, ignorant, and still trying to find her spark in life.
Kip is a confident young comic with great jokes, but it is his sensitivity and insight that impresses Becky most. Eight months into a very intense relationship that shuts out friends and family, Becky realizes that Kip also has a serious problem. To Tashjian's credit, Kip is not painted as a one-dimensional monster; his good qualities add to the conflict Becky feels when the abuse begins. Becky's parents and Kip's mother are portrayed as reasonable, supportive, and concerned.
Medical professionals believe that at least one out of every five teenage girls are abused by boyfriends, with most thinking that it is their faults, it will get better, or there is no way out. Fault Line is an absorbing, easy read that will help young people identify the signs and unacceptability of abuse in their own circles. The novel will serve its purpose as leisure reading or as the basis of group discussions.