Review: Burn Baby, Burn Baby

Burn Baby

Burn Baby, Burn Baby by Kevin Craig is a raw look at abuse and disfigurement from a victim's perspective. Teenager Francis Fripp bears the scars, mental and physical, inflicted by a brutal father. He arms himself against a hostile world with sarcasm, cynicism, and profanity. The only truly bright spot in that world is his best friend from before his disfigurement, "Trig", who has stuck with him all the way and who always has his back. Trig is also everything Francis isn't: a popular, athletic A-student, dating one of the hottest girls in the school. Francis is envious, but not enough to ruin his friendship. In the meanwhile, school is hell for him, as a violent bully who has christened him "Burn Baby" sees to it that he gets regular verbal and physical abuse, which he amps up any time somebody tries to help.

And one person who tries to help is the new girl, Rachel. She has to be persistent, because her greatest roadblock is Francis himself, who cannot conceive of the notion that any girl could actually like him. Kevin Craig was himself a victim of abuse, so he comes at this subject with a deep understanding of what that kind of pain can do to a child. Francis has to fight with both himself and his environment to come to terms with his disfiguring scars, the ones on his body and the ones on his soul. It's not an easy read on any level, but I think a valuable one for anyone who has had an easier ride through life. Fortunately Craig allows some light to shine in the deep darkness here, or it would be an unbearable read.

It is not unbearable, but it is brutal. Prepare yourself for profanity, anger, violence, and a very unhappy teen culture. Prepare yourself also for hope.

Kevin Craig's website