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Submitted Literature

Me & Emma

By Elizabeth Flock


It is difficult to fully review this novel without giving away the unexpected ending, hence this review will be brief.


Flock’s novel is written from the perspective of 8 year old Carrie, a child living through immense trauma, abuse and neglect at the hands of her step-father. Big sister to Emma, Carrie tries to shield her from the worst of the abuse and carries a huge amount of guilt that Emma has to endure their step-father’s sexual abuse in her place. Despite their awful home life, there is an innocence and naivety to Carrie that captivates the reader and reminds them of precisely how childlike and young the age of 8 is, and should be. Abuse is dealt with sensitively by Flock by mediating it through the eyes of a child who lacks adult language and conceptualisation – though it is no less frank because of this. A recommended novel for anyone working with children and families, and a fast paced read with a shocking ending for those who can tolerate the themes examined.   

Key Themes:

  • Child Abuse

Significant Quotes / Pages

13-14 – “I’m eight – two years older than Emma, but because I’m small people probably think we’re mismatched twins. And that’s the way we think of each other. But I wish I could be more like Emma. I scream when I see a cicada, but Emma doesn’t mind them. She scoops them up and puts them outside. I tell her she should just step on them but she doesn’t listen to me. And she never gets picked on by the other kids. Once, Tommy Bucksmith twisted her arm around her back and held it there for a long time (‘until you say I’m the best in the universe’ he told her at the time, laughing while he winched her arm backward higher and higher) and she didn’t make a peep. Emma’s not scared of anything. Except for when Richard turns on Momma. Then we both go straight to behind-the-couch. Behind-the-couch is like another room for me and Emma. It’s our fort. Anyway, we usually head there when we’ve counted ten squeaks from the foot pedal of the metal trash can in the kitchen. The bottles clank so loud I think my head’ll split in two.

Richard starts bugging Momma after about the tenth squeak. I don’t know why Momma doesn’t stay out of his way from squeak eight on but she doesn’t.”

Reference: Elizabeth, Flock. 2004. Me & Emma. Mira Books, 2008


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Monday 22nd February 2010