The Rules of Survival

The Rules of Survival➽ [Reading] ➿ The Rules of Survival By Nancy Werlin ➲ – This National Book Award Finalist is a thoughtprovoking exploration of emotional abuse, selfreliance and the nature of evil A heartwrenching portrait of family crisis, this is perfect for fans of Laur This National Book Award Finalist is a thoughtprovoking exploration of emotional abuse, selfreliance and the nature of evil A heartwrenching portrait of family crisis, this is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why   For Matt The Rules PDF/EPUB or and his sisters, life with their cruel, physically abusive mother is a daytoday struggle for survival But then Matt witnesses a man named Murdoch coming to a child’s rescue in a convenience store; and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope Then, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother Life is suddenly almost good But the relief lasts only a short time When Murdoch inevitable breaks up with their mother, Matt knows that he’ll need to take some action Can he call upon Murdoch to be his hero? Or will Matt have to take measures into his own hands?National Book Award Finalist LA Times Book Prize Finalist ALA Best books of the Year ALA Quick Pick  .

Nancy Werlin writes young adult fiction: New York Times–bestselling fantasy, Edgar award winning suspense, and National Book Award honored realistic novelsNancy's newest book is the suspense thriller AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR.

The Rules of Survival Kindle ½ The Rules  PDF/EPUB or
    The Rules of Survival Kindle ½ The Rules PDF/EPUB or his hero? Or will Matt have to take measures into his own hands?National Book Award Finalist LA Times Book Prize Finalist ALA Best books of the Year ALA Quick Pick  ."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 259 pages
  • The Rules of Survival
  • Nancy Werlin
  • English
  • 14 December 2019
  • 9780803730014

10 thoughts on “The Rules of Survival

  1. Bonnie says:

    This book was so well written that I didn't notice how disturbing it was until after I finished. I would call it haunting and beautiful. I kept reading well into the night.
    Nancy Werlin has written a classic.

  2. Catie says:

    This ended up being a pretty personal review for me, so if you don’t want to read through my melodramatic reminiscing…I suggest you (ie, the three of you that read my reviews) skip this one!

    It will be absolutely impossible for me to rate this book objectively. Did I like this book? Not just no, but hell no. However, I recognize that this dislike is influenced heavily by my own personal experience. I over-identified with the beginning of the book, to the extent of making myself nauseous, but the middle and ending felt so unreal that I couldn’t engage with the story anymore. I do think that this book is well written, and I know that if I didn’t have the childhood past that I do, I would have probably liked it. So, I am settling on three stars.

    This story is written as a letter from an eighteen year old Matthew to his now nine year old sister, Emmy, recounting events from her early childhood, which she does not fully remember. Matthew and his sister Callie have lived in constant fear of their mother for years, as she has become more and more violent and manic. They both have taken on protector roles for Emmy, shielding her from as much as possible, and bringing the brunt onto themselves. However, Matthew is losing hope. When they witness a man defend a young child from being hit by his father in a convenience store, Matthew begins to imagine that he can track down this man and bring him into their lives to rescue them. But, when Matthew’s mother finds him first, nothing goes as planned.

    Matthew includes information about their future here and there in the letter, so the reader will know right from the beginning that these kids eventually get away from their mother. I like this – not only because it relieves some of the intensity of the beginning, but because it focuses the reader on the growth of the characters and not so much on wondering about the eventual outcome.

    There are parts of the beginning of this book that are very familiar to me, and I can identify with all three of these kids. Like Emmy, I don’t remember very much of my early childhood. My memory is made up of violent snatches of scenes, where my father hurts my mother and ridicules my little brother. I learned to be invisible quite early, to escape his notice. He was a heavy drinker, and he left when I was six years old. He did not pay child support, even though the court had ordered him to do so. Like Matthew, I once confronted my father, pleading for help. My mother sank into a deep depression in my teenage years, with frequent bouts of intense anxiety. She feared all Western medicine and so put her faith in natural healers, psychics, and herbs. One day she called home in a panic to tell me that a huge earthquake was coming. She had been informed by a psychic. I was to pack a bag, and she would buy us plane tickets to get out of town. I spent the whole afternoon alternately hunched under my desk, or standing in my doorway, trying to decide which location was the safest. When she got home, she went to bed, acting like nothing had happened. This was one of many incidents that occurred over years, but this one sticks out in my mind because it was the time that I realized that the majority of what my mom worried about wasn’t real. I wrote my father a letter, telling him that she was not okay, and that we needed help with money too. We didn’t have enough food, and I would wear the same clothes to school every day, because they were the only ones that fit. My mom was too lost to notice that any of this was happening. I’ll never forget his response. I know you think that you’re “poor”…. Yes, he even used the quotation marks. Just writing this down, I still have a little spark of rage about it all. And, I can relate to Callie. Like Callie, I decided that keeping my head down and doing well in school was the one way to get me far away from everything. So yes, I can definitely “over-identify much?” with the beginning of this book. However, somewhere in the middle of this book, the characters’ reactions and emotional states start to seem unreal to me. For example, when Matthew’s father comes to him, finally willing to try and help, Matthew is simply relieved and happy. Where’s the anger? The betrayal of fourteen years spent without help? I can’t understand that. And, while I do find it inspiring that Matthew in particular could be so heroic for so many years, protecting and shielding his sisters, I find that hard to buy into as well (at least not without him suffering lasting damage from it, which he doesn’t appear to). I am not saying that it doesn’t happen, because I’m sure that it does. But, I barely had the wherewithal to get myself out of my childhood. I kept my head down, and my eyes focused inward, even as my little brother self-destructed right next to me. Yes, I still have some brand of survivor’s guilt about it, and this book does not help me.

    All three kids in this story survive over a decade of abuse and seem to have very little lasting damage. Yes, we only get to see up to Matthew’s eighteenth birthday, but the extent to which all three of these kids are thriving and whole is unbelievable to me. Now, let me just say (again), that my own personal experience is heavily coloring this opinion. Maybe there are kids out there that have been raised in violent environments and emerged healthy and whole enough to win scholarships have great relationships with other parental figures. I don’t know, but to me it seems unrealistic. I still struggle with my past and I am almost thirty years old. Only in the past few years have I been able to say things like, “she did the best that she could” and actually mean them. Only recently have I been able to see that my parents are just people, who had problems, which had absolutely nothing to do with me. My mom lived for years in an abusive relationship, and lost her father, her brother, and her first child within two years. I defy anyone to be mentally healthy after that.

    I initially liked the ending reveal, but the more I think about it, the more I hate it. To me it smacks of hiding away the dirty past and treating the mother as a simple villain. There’s one thing that I’ve definitely learned in my adulthood (which is one of the main reasons I don’t mind posting all of this information about my life on the internet): trying to hide or minimize the difficult past is a sure way to increase its influence. Whereas, if you share your past openly and stare it right in the face, it will lose its power. I would like to see Matthew and his sisters working on healing and struggling, without it happening instantly. I am in a very happy place in my life, but I still have healing to do. It’s not something that happens all at once, but in little moments throughout my life. Every time I take my daughters to the doctor for a regular check-up, or pick them up from school on time, or cook them dinner, or see my eldest become more and more of a daddy’s girl, it heals me.

  3. Jan says:

    I devoured this book in practically one sitting. I loved the taut suspense of this story--a story that will resonate with many teens who must deal with abusive parents. Matthew is faced with protecting his sisters from his unpredictable and often violent mother (who likely is afflicted with manic depressive disorder). Often he must bear the burden of her rage himself in order to to deflect it from the most vulnerable member of his family--his youngest sister, Emmy. The book is written from Matthew's point of view, as a letter to Emmy, who was too young to understand much of what was happening when they were living with their mother. Although the children are eventually rescued, there is still much healing to be done and writing the story is Matthew's way of purging much of his own pain.

  4. Thomas says:

    The Rules of Survival is about Matthew Walsh who lives with his two younger sisters and their abusive mother. He retells his story through a letter that he intends to give to his youngest sister Emmy, who was too young to understand the events that went on when Nikki abused them and put them through more than just their fair share of pain.

    This was such a good novel, I read it in only two days (both school days), so you can tell how addicted I was to reading it. I seriously felt Matt's pain and I was rooting viciously for him as I devoured the book. At first when he kept referring to Emmy by saying you it got on my nerves, but it faded away later on. I have never heard of Nancy Werlin before, but I'm definetly going to look at her other novels because this one came out of nowhere and impressed me. A lot.

  5. Dave says:

    My youngest daughter picked this book up on CD at our library. It's a first person narrative in the form of a letter from an older brother to his youngest sister recounting a troubling and turbulent period when the two of them, and another sister, between them in age, were living with their mentally ill mother. The story held my attention with its taut dark psychological tension. Since I have close relatives and friends with significant mental health problems, I found the events and behavior described were entirely plausible. The form of the narrative as a personal letter drew me in as well. I think the book is a good one for teens/young adults to have a window into family dysfunction and the impact of untreated mental illness on the sufferer and their family. It is not a pleasant read, nor is it for the faint of heart.

  6. Susan says:

    Swift, interesting read and a fairly successful epistolary novel. Predictable plot of abusive parent, kids trying to find their own way, but likeable characters and a nice examination of what it means to be a hero.

  7. Walter says:

    Full Disclosure: Nancy is a good friend.

    This is one of the best portrayals of a teen living with an emotionally abusive parent you will ever read. I had a knot in my stomach the whole book.

  8. 森ーん says:

    The mother.... argggghh

  9. may ❀ says:

    This book is really something. Thought provoking, powerful, haunting.

    Because the story took place over the course of five or six years, we see the steady growth of problems Matt, Callie, and Emmy endure and how they handle it.

    What I loved most about this book was the realistic character development, particularly Matt's. Although he's a protective and dedicated to his sisters, he's still a kid. He shouts and gets upset and wants to leave and be selfish because he's just a kid. A kid put in the position of a parent and caretaker for his little sisters. And for the author to acknowledge this and incorporate it into the book makes it so much more real.

    Definitely would recommend and I wish there would be more books like this, that accurately portray the lives and feelings of someone in this situation. Very powerful.

    “Always remember: In the end, the surviver gets to tell the story.”

  10. Nina says:

    Always remember: In the end, the survivor gets to tell the story.

    This is the story of Matt, Callie, and Emmy, written as a letter. Emmy was too young to fully understand her past and so Matt has taken it as his responsibility to tell her about it. It's not only about an abusive mother but it involves outsiders who were dragged into it.

    What did I think of the characters?
    WOW. This is one of the best character developments I have read. It didn't just occur suddenly but over a realistic period of time. I LOVE Matt. I view him as a hero. With the way he protected his little sisters... It may be something he just had to do but I felt as if it were something more than that. They all had their flaws and they all had times of vulnerability. Even Nikki had a side that was understandable.

    The writing, the story, just everything was so beautiful. I felt emotions the characters were going through. There were difficult topics in here. I loved how it talked about reasons why Matt didn't tell anyone about the abuse. Also, how someone can get used to an abnormal life somehow. The fact that it was written as a letter also made it different. The voice of the character was unbelievable. I actually felt as if I were listening to a teenage boy tell me his story. Definitely one of my favorites. Undoubtedly five stars! I look forward to reading more by Nancy Werlin and of this genre.

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