With A Map to the Stars, Ashley Hutchison steps away from fantasy and science fiction to let us tour the mind of Avery, a girl whose childhood innocence and trust are slowly lost to people who were supposed to take care of her. She takes us on a roller coaster ride the likes of which I’ve not seen since The Princess Diarist or Moon Tiger. She hops around from age to age, giving us both a story and a first-person viewpoint of the pent-up emotions a child carries into adulthood when they come from a broken home wherein they have endured trauma. The novella is raw and powerful in that refusal to abide by rules. It definitely reads more like a flow of consciousness journal in some places, actual contents of text messages in some, while in others it seeks to tell the story of the protagonist and how the world changes her. Some of the language used in this book is breathtakingly haunting while at other times, the rage leaves us with repetitive lines of anger lashing out at people; people who refuse to comprehend that the actions of a few people can mold a human being for the better or for worse.
A portrait of a stolen childhood.
Once upon a time, Avery lived in a place filled with family, magic, and love. It ended when her mother came for her. Ripped from the only home she ever knew, young Avery endures horrific exploitation, familial separation, and a childhood without the promise of a happily ever after. Part prose, part poetry – all primal scream – A Map to the Stars explores the acerbic betrayal of family, unthinkable abuse, and the search for what is left behind – if anything at all – amongst the stars. Ashley Hutchison pulls no punches in this fictionalized memoir of her childhood.