Damaged epitomizes a feeling of darkness and reeling loss with an utterly profound yet utterly hopeful ending. Continually faced with ongoing loss and disappointment, protagonist Camille Logan deals with a progression of horrifying moments, save for a small light of a boyfriend who seemingly will do anything for her. Once he is shot in an unexpected situation, Camille regains her lost feelings and chooses survival on the streets.
Depicting the story while by fully embracing the environment, author Kia DuPree brings a "realness of the streets" to the readers. Dialect and vocabulary clearly show her familiarity with the subject and environment where the characters dwell. The use of a southern dialect makes Damaged reading a bit like Toni Morrison's Beloved or Sula. DuPree provides the rawness of feeling lost without family, and she gives us the disappointments of lies and abuse, as well as illuminating moments of ambition and the determination of making a better life for oneself. Starting from the middle of the story, readers follow the book's chronology through the five years that lead to the book's end.
Damaged is dark and difficult. DuPree shows how poor youth struggle to survive abuse through the foster care system and then continue to suffer on the streets of an urban jungle. Exposing the inner city’s fast life, DuPree puts you on the train and takes you all the way to the end of the line. Everything is for sale and getting off the train isn't easy. In fact, sometimes there is no escape.
Well-written and clearly heartfelt, DuPree does justice to the perseverance and needs of all young people in cities who undergo change and need positive role models. Capturing the essence of power, control, and the people who abuse the two, she holds no brakes on exposing the very beliefs we have. A definite page turner, Damaged gives us hope.