From the opening pages of Small Damages, the author gifts us with the small moments that define a place, a thought, and a feeling.
Kenzie is a teenage girl with an age-old problem. Pregnant and alone. Or at least she feels alone, for her mother has sent her away to Spain to stay with people recommended to her by a friend. And Kenzie’s boyfriend Kevin, bound for Yale in the fall, seems detached and unable to provide even the smallest amount of emotional support.
The story is told in Kenzie’s first person voice, but she is also speaking to her baby. She articulates her thoughts, her feelings, and describes what is happening around her. In those moments, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.
The language is beautiful: like a painting. Through the words, we can see what the characters are seeing. We begin in the present moment, with occasional snippets filtering in from the past that tell us a bit about Kenzie and Kevin and their friends. And slowly we understand that the process for Kenzie is one of coming to terms with her life, the choice she made to have the baby, and ultimately, what to do next.
In the end I gave this one four stars. It was lovely, it was introspective, but for me it did not have the power of some of the author’s other work. Still, I recommend it for young girls who might be struggling with their own issues, or adults who enjoy looking back at that time in their own lives.