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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Since My Name is Tookie by Chariss K. Walker is aimed at young adults, and is a story of early childhood sexual abuse, readers need to be sure they can handle the material presented. While there is no doubt in my mind that there are, unfortunately, too many "Tookies" in our society, young teens who have not experienced what Tookie endures will be saddened, even shocked by the abuse she suffers even before leaving the womb. The abuse is brutal.
Tookie is born to a 13-year-old girl. Her twin, whom Tookie calls Jacob, didn't survive, thanks to the physical abuse inflicted on her pregnant mother by the teenaged biological father. Following a gang rape by four of his male friends, Tookie's mom, Janelle, falls into a life of prostitution and drugs. She blames Tookie for her unfortunate life, and after she dies from an overdose, Tookie is lucky enough to be returned to her maternal grandmother.
But Tookie is a severely damaged child, being herself repeatedly sexually abused by one of Janelle's men. It takes much love and patience from her grandmother and a therapist to bring the screaming tormented Tookie to adulthood, where she discovers yet another truth about herself she will now have deal with. Perhaps the author will continue Tookie's story in yet another book, as Chariss K. Walker is a prolific writer and has to date written 23 books.
If you like My Name is Tookie, you might enjoy others in Walker's collection. She focuses primarily on dark fiction. There is a spiritual, almost paranormal aspect to My Name is Tookie and this style of writing is the author's specialty. Her books are short, quick reads, which appeals to so many with busy lifestyles who want to escape for an hour into a book. My Name is Tookie deals with a very realistic social issue. Young adults who have experienced similar abuse to Tookie's will indeed relate to her story.