Monday, August 02, 2010
Girls of Tender Age
By Mary-Ann Tirone Smith
When Mary-Ann was about nine years old, a classmate of hers was molested and murdered by a pedophile. This book is Mary-Ann's exploration of that event and her memories of that time and also of what it was like growing up in the 1950s. Her brother was autistic, although at that time, he was just considered retarded, despite the fact that he reading at an adult level when still just a child. His condition required his parents to focus most of their energy on him, leaving Mary-Ann on the sidelines. In addition, Mary-Ann's mother was an indifferent parent, preferring to golf or play cards to being with at home with her children.
When the murder occurred, the adults in her life refused to discuss it with the children, leaving Mary-Ann with many unanswered questions. It was so traumatic to her that later in life she couldn't remember the two years of her life after the event. But as an adult, she started to confront that time in her life and to find out for herself exactly what happened to the little girl who was strangled to death in a backyard just a few houses down from where Mary-Ann lived at the time.
The subject of this book is sad and tragic, a young life cut short because of some man's depraved sexual appetite. But that isn't the only story in the book, mainly it is about Mary-Ann and her family, about growing up in the 1950s and about being sister to a brother with autism. It's a really interesting story.