Parents' Guide to

The Boy from the Basement

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Gripping tale handles abuse with a delicate hand.

The Boy from the Basement Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+
I am 13 and can read and watch a lot of things, but while there is no disturbing images like guts on the floor or descriptive open heart surgury, it was kind of hard to get through just becasue the isolation that this child has just makes you so sad. This is a book I would give to kids who think that they are not treated right by their parents because they dont have the lastest iPod. The hardest thing for me to accept is that this kind of stuff happens all the time.
age 16+

Perfect for Adults and teens above 16.

I overall thought the book was a little boring. I also din't like how that in the book, The mother let her husband do these things! Thats not a good message. Women should stand up for their selfs!

This title has:

Educational value

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (6):

This is a powerful -- and hopeful -- story. Child abuse, like slavery and genocide, is one of mankind's great horrors, and therefore hard to turn into literature without going too far. The balance between honoring the reality of the victim's experience without becoming unbearable is delicate, especially when writing for children, but author Susan Shaw gets it right. It's real (except perhaps for some overly fortuitous timing at the end) and moving without being melodramatic or graphic.

Unlike many other novels of this type, the author doesn't shortchange the lasting psychological impact of Charlie's experiences, nor does she demonize the parents: What they did was terrible, but the mother is passive out of terror, and the father is genuinely ill and, in his warped way, doing what he thinks is best. Charlie's recovery, the main theme of the story, is also realistically slow -- the book has to skip over years at the end to get him to a place where he is even beginning to function normally.

Book Details

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