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The Trouble With Wednesdays Hardcover – March, 1986

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Becky's biggest worry is that her parents may not be able to afford the braces she so desperately wants on her teeth. If Becky doesn't get braces before she gets to junior high, she's afraid her friend Hilary will dump her because she's ugly. The irony is that getting braces introduces Becky to an even bigger worry: her dentist begins sexually molesting her. Becky is so confused, and has had so little practice talking with her parents, that she even wonders if this isn't some kind of "payment" her parents have arranged. She turns herself off to all things physical, including her own grooming, until at last luck and a perceptive teacher help bring the horror into the open. While the parental situation in this novel is overdramatized (Becky's mother refuses to discuss unladylike topics such as money and sex, and loses herself in romance novels and wine; Becky's father is cheerful but ineffectual), what comes across realistically is Becky's confusion over why this is happening to her. The book effectively points out how important it is to get help, to share problems and, above all, not to let an adult abuse you without fighting back.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8 Becky's mother has always taught her to act like a lady, grateful and uncomplaining. This passivity leaves her even less equipped than most 12 year olds would be to thwart the sexual assaults of her orthodontist, who also happens to be her father's cousin and whom she thinks is straightening her teeth for free. Nathanson's engaging narrative convincingly records Becky's state of mind as she moves through fear and self-blame to disgust, anger and, eventually, action. The importance of self-assertion is echoed in a parallel plot involving the publication of a controversial school newspaper. This second story doesn't ring quite as true as the first, and many important characters (Becky's mother, for example, and the orthodontist), aren't completely realized. Yet the plot is strong and compelling, and without belaboring the point, the book gives a clear message that molestation is not the victim's fault and that reporting these crimes is essential. Sexual scenes are forthright but discrete. Hall's The Boy in the Off-White Hat (Scribners, 1984) is another good book about child molestation for this same age group.Ruth Horowitz, Notre Dame Academy Girls High School Lib . , Los Angeles
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pacer Books; 1 edition (March 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0448477750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0448477756
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,403,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Becky's biggest problems at the beginning of this book are her messed up teeth and her lazy parents who expect her to do all of the cooking and cleaning. Her top two eye teeth are longer than they should be, causing a mean girl at school to call her a vampire. However, things are going to get so much worse.

Becky's orthodontist is her father's cousin, who is seeing her at a discounted rate. (There is a thing about Becky finding out at the end that she hadn't been going there for free, but it really doesn't make what he does any more horrifying so I wish this part had been left out.) Right away, Dr. Rolfman behaves inappropriately with Becky, feeling her up in the dentist chair. On subsequent visits, he gets even bolder, rubbing up against her before she can escape out the door. Becky immediately confides in her parents what has happened, but they do nothing. Her mother tries to reassure her that the end result of getting straight teeth will be worth it while her father plays dumb. In one frustrating scene, the dentist molests Becky right in front of her mother. The reader logically thinks she is about to be rescued, but the mother turns her head to what is happening. This is a calculated move by Dr. Rolfman to show Becky that no one will help her.

Becky becomes extremely depressed and withdrawn. She stops caring about her appearance and avoids her best friend. Finally she runs into her teacher on the way home from a particularly traumatizing appointment. Ms. Markham guesses right away what is going on and contacts authorities.

The story ends on what is probably an unrealistically happy note. In the epilogue, which takes place nearly a year later, Becky's parents have put down the liquor and pills and have become loving and attentive toward their daughter.
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