Book Reviews for Novel – Tooth for Tooth
Review by: Dolores Ayotte
Tooth for Tooth, by Canadian Author Kimberley Payne, is a well-written work of art. Although, the topic of child incest is hard to comprehend and digest, Ms. Payne manages to share this heart-wrenching story in a unique way as she describes the negative emotions one would expect a mother to experience. Heather Williams, the main character, is confronted with the fact that her ex-husband is molesting their young daughter.
Upon the discovery of her four-year old daughter’s painful plight, Heather is consumed with the usual emotions of anger, despair, frustration with the system, and desperation to ensure the safety of Caitlin when visiting with her father. Ms. Payne has done a great deal of research in order to describe the number of such cases that exist in society today and basically how they are handled. It is painful to realize how rampant sexual abuse is and that those we think we can trust, are often times, the very perpetrators of these horrible sexual crimes on innocent young children.
Ms. Payne does an excellent job of sharing both Heather’s and Caitlin’s journeys as they go through the necessary steps in order to heal. Heather manages to find her support system in a Women’s Church Group, while Caitlin bonds with an incredible child therapist. Ms. Payne injects some humor into this sad situation by commenting on the physical appearances of the people Heather encounters throughout her journey in finding protection for Caitlin and assistance for herself as she learns to cope with the situation. Ms. Payne also manages to throw in a hint of romance to round off this very difficult topic in order to add some positivity to the theme. By doing so, it helps makes this novel much easier to read as the subject of child sexual abuse, especially incest, is very difficult to even imagine, let alone live with. The end goal in this novel is to effectively deal with the crime committed and to eventually forgive the offender. Ms. Payne does a great job of taking the reader there. Let go…let God is her motto!
Review by: Tracy Krauss
TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Kimberley Payne is a heart wrenching look at a parent’s worst nightmare. This novel deals with the very sensitive issue of child sexual abuse and one woman’s personal struggle when her young daughter discloses her victimization at the hand of her own `daddy’. The subject is certainly not light reading, yet Payne manages to keep the story moving forward through the various stages of emotional turmoil, as well as the bureaucratic struggles that ensue. The overarching theme of the book is forgiveness, and through divine intervention, Heather, the main character in the book, finally reaches a point where she is able to forgive her ex-husband. Sprinkled through out the book are tidbits of romance, but this aspect of the story is understandably underdeveloped next to the weightier issues. It is a well written story worth the read.
Review by: Glynis Belec
Heather’s character was clear and easy to relate to as she struggled and journeyed down her difficult road.
The story was not easy to read as far as content for I don’t like to read about such horrible situations. It breaks my heart, but that is part of the reality of our sinful world. It was a tough topic and you tackled it well. You did a good job of keeping it toned down as far as graphic descriptions – maybe some readers/editors would want more – not me.
Overall, a great novel with tons of potential with its (sadly) timely topic. You have spent a lot of work researching and pouring out your heart on this, I can tell. You do write good dialogue, too, so make that an important part of what you write. You have some lovely visuals and a way of putting a reader at ease once they ‘step inside.’
A heartfelt story told with compassion…thanks.
Review by: Janet Sketchley
Despite the difficult subject matter, Tooth for Tooth is a good read that paints a strong picture and ends with some hope. I really felt for Heather and Caitlin, and was glad to see things getting better for them.
I appreciated the way Canadian author Kimberley Payne kept the tone balanced with humour. I especially liked Heather’s random thoughts when she was initially processing Caitlin’s disclosure, like in the doctor’s office when she was comparing herself with the leggy receptionist. It was kind of off-the-wall, but that’s exactly what we’re like when we’re processing something that’s too much for our brains. Ms. Payne did a good job depicting the good, the bad and the ugly of the various systems Heather had to wade through. Nobody’s perfect, even in those professions. And I really liked the art therapist.
Review by: Donna Dawson
“Tooth for Tooth is not a novel for the faint of heart. The 270-page book isn’t a warm and fuzzy story with the blasé Christian happy ending. Author Kimberley Payne has tackled subject matter that few are willing to acknowledge exists let alone desire to write into a story plot–incest.
Payne writes the novel in first person which makes it even more heart-jarring. In her story, Heather Williams, a single mother is faced with the horrifying truth that her four-year-old daughter, Caitlin–or better known as Caity-Cat, has been sexually assaulted. And the assailant is Caitlin’s own father. It is devastating to Heather as she discovers the flaws in the court system, the lack of compassion in the social service system and the reality that she will have to fight to protect her daughter. But there are moments of beauty in the story that soften the harsh message. There are care workers who really do care. There are church members who come along side Heather during her darkest moments. There are family relationships built. And there is a love story that shows what a true relationship between man and woman is about.
If I could pick one flaw in the book it would be the shift from Caitlin’s story to Heather’s. While I was thrilled that Heather came to know Christ, I wanted to know what happened to Caity-Cat. Perhaps Ms. Payne did that on purpose–after all–we don’t always get the whole story in child incest cases. And it certainly left room for a sequel. I was glad I read the book. It challenged me, yanked at my heart strings, made me laugh and cry and left me with an urge to tell the author, “well done!””
Review by: Laura Davis
Tooth for Tooth by Canadian author Kimberley Payne is about a young child who is molested by her father. The anguish her mother, Heather Williams, experiences as she realizes what her husband has done to their daughter, will tear you apart. As our heroine battles the legal system to protect her daughter, Caitlin, she also finds herself battling feelings of anger, guilt and betrayal. Betrayal from not just her husband, but God too, as she asks why He didn’t protect her daughter. The result is a beautiful story on forgiveness and learning to trust God and rely on Him for everything.
The author has done a wonderful job of giving the reader a glimpse into the world of the Children’s Aid Society and what is involved when something like this happens. She has done her research and it shows. The nonsense that our main character endures within the legal system are realistic and I’m sure will ring true to anyone who has had to live through such a nightmare. Which makes this story all the more poignant.
While this is hard to read because of the subject matter, the end result is a book that will leave you with a good feeling. I highly recommend it!
Review by: Fern Boldt
I have studied child abuse thoroughly. Your book agrees with what I’ve learned about it over the years. The stats I’ve read are even worse than what you mention–1 out of 2 girls and 1 out of 3 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse by the time they’re 18. I wrote a handbook for pastors and church leaders entitled: “Stopping the Cycle of Abuse — Starting with the Church.” I dealt with seven forms of abuse in it.
Heather Williams was such a real character with her emotions fluctuating between despair and happiness. I loved Connie. What a hoot! Rod was a typical abuser. 95% deny what they’ve done. Caitlin was almost too nice, obedient and compliant. I thought most kids acted out when they’ve been abused. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t put up a fuss about going to visit her father. She never protested going to the doctor, dentist, art therapist or anyone else. Most people would like to have a child like her.
Review by: Elsie P Montgomery
Kimberley Payne has a gift for describing her characters. I feel as if I know each one. Of course the best part was when Heather gave in to the Hound of Heaven. I’m glad she left the ending open. It is one of those stories that invites readers to figure out what will happen next!
Review by: Linda Hall
Kimberley Payne has done an admirable job of portraying a single mother’s navigation through the difficult maze of doctors and social workers when she suspects that her baby daughter has been abused. She writes about this difficult subject with depth and grace.
Review by: Donna Mann
Kimberley Payne has written head-on into a much denied topic. Who wants to admit that sexual abuse happens in families? Who wants to think about the innocence of a child tainted by another’s desire? Payne has given her readers a process with integrity and honesty to explore this issue? The plot is believable and the characters interact with the reader as in conversation. The setting is an ‘everyday neighbourhood’ place. The story shows the importance of faith in a troubled situtation. It is important for authors to confront this issue and Kimberley Payne has accomplished it.
Review by: Ray Wiseman
I enjoyed Kimberley Payne’s character descriptions: not only did her writing style open windows to reveal colorful people, she empowered me to virtually hear and smell them!
The theme of the book, sadly relevant today, deals with child sexual abuse. Payne tends to sidestep much of the pain inflicted on the victim and those who love her, and concentrates on the distress and suffering imposed by those charged with the responsibility to help. Even the legal and court system fails to show compassion and come to grips with the human element.
A major message: be prepared to stand alone, or better, to lean on the Lord should you find yourself in similar circumstances.
Review by: Karen Lubbers
I couldn’t stop pushing the arrow key on my kindle as I wanted to read this intense story. The subject was heavy, but the freedom found was beautiful. Very descriptive and heart-wrenching. I’m so glad I spent the day reading this novel.
Review by: Steph Nickel
As a parent, how would you feel if you discovered your child had been abused? What would you do? How would you cope? Could you ever forgive while still holding the abuser accountable? In Tooth for Tooth, the author (and my friend), Kimberley Payne addresses these issues.
In the book, I found…
Characters I care about.
Others I want to clobber.
Growth, change, and development of the key characters.
Emotions I can relate to.
Situations that matter to me.
Big themes – especially forgiveness.
Matters of faith organically woven into the story.
A hope-filled, cathartic ending that isn’t “perfect.”
These are all reasons I recommend reading Tooth for Tooth.