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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Burning Rage by Don Banting is a story addressing a life that many people cannot possibly imagine. Jess had grown up as an outcast, incapable of making friends. When her father left the family when she was ten years old, she felt it was her fault. Her mother did nothing to help her self-esteem by criticizing her constantly. Now, as an adult, Jess needed something more in her life. Laura Martin worked for The Guardian Newspaper and enjoyed her newfound relationship with Garret and his daughter Brandy. She spent quality time with Garret since the serial arsonist she had been assigned to was finally collared. Brandy’s birthday was coming up, and Laura wanted to make sure that Brandy knew she was loved. Two days before her birthday, Garret wasn’t able to contact her. When her boyfriend told him that she hadn’t come home from her evening jog, Laura found herself with Garret, falling apart like he had when his wife had passed away. Two weeks later, Jess disappeared from her job and went missing. What happened to the two women?
Don Banting painted a scene of what the lack of human compassion and connection could do to a person. The flashbacks that came from Jess’s point of view showed how cruel life was for her. I was horrified at how people bullied her. I fully despised her mother when she told Jess: “It’s not like you are going places anyway.” Brandy’s upbringing completely appeared as the polar opposite. Watching as the two characters developed, especially after their disappearances, it was easy to see a shift in their outlook on life. I appreciated how Banting had the narration of the book shift in alternating points of view that were easy to follow. Burning Rage is a 5-star book that I couldn’t put down. I read it more than once, trying to fathom how different the world would be if we all tried showing compassion for others. Brandy even considered how she could have been a better person by intervening when she saw mistreatment in school. Despite being fiction, I think this would be a valuable tool to highlight the effects of our actions on others.