"Sometimes when you see people who you think are monsters,
or you hear bad things about them, you really expect them to
look like those big, ugly or evil-looking people, but when
you really see them, like see them inside, and learn what
they're about, you see that they're just like regular
people. Just some bad things happened to them somewhere..."
So goes the wisdom of Peaches, one of the "damaged" women in
Kia DuPree's sophomore novel, DAMAGED, as she tries to help
Camille make sense of the lives they are living. Underage
and young adult women, caught in a cesspool of humanity on
the streets of Washington D.C. fight for their dreams and to
gain a sense of family, of belonging.
I could be wrong but I believe it's rare to see a street lit
book with a protagonist as young as Camille—at least it is
for me—but DAMAGED provides an eye opening, compassionate
look at some of what a defenseless and oft times rudderless
segment of society must endure.
I love that right off the bat, Kia DuPree portrays these
characters as multi-dimensional, real individuals, from the
abused to the abusers. Ms. DuPree appears to capture the
language, thoughts and actions of these characters with
superb skill. In everyone there's a kernel of humanity
hopeful to live a better life. Some characters are truly
twisted and perverse while others are simply surviving and
all desire more than their current life offers. DAMAGED is
a worthy read for those unafraid of stepping outside their
own little corner of this crazy world.
Camille Logan feels trapped. After she is sexually and
emotionally abused by her foster parents, she turns to the
one person she knows she can trust--her boyfriend Chu, a
mid-level drug dealer. But when life finally starts looking
up for Camille, Chu is brutally murdered. Again feeling
abandoned and helpless, and refusing to return to the
system, Camille finds herself living with a stable of women
in a tiny run-down apartment building in Washington, D.C.,
working for Nut, a deranged pimp.
Fed up with her life, Camille is forced to right her wrongs,
and slowly learns that her past does not necessarily
determine her future.