A child is imprisoned in a house by her reclusive religious parents. Hester has never seen the outside world; her companions are Cat, Spoon, Door, Handle, Broom, and they all speak to her. Her imagination is informed by one book, an illustrated child's bible, and its imagery forms the sole basis for her capacity to make poetic connection.
One day Hester takes a brave Alice in Wonderland trip into the forbidden outside (at the behest of Handle - 'turn me turn me'), and this overwhelming encounter with light and sky and sunshine is a marvel to her. From this moment on, Hester learns the concept of the secret, and not telling, and the world becomes something that fills her with feeling as if she is a vessel, empty and bottomless for need of it.
The story told by Hester in One Foot Wrong is often dark and terrible, but the sheer blazing brilliance of her language and the imagery that illuminates the pages make this novel an exhilarating, enlightening and joyous act of faith. The stars shine brightest out of the deepest dark.
Australian actor and young-adult writer Laguna (Too Loud Lily) delivers a grim, creepy, powerful first-person narrative about a direly neglected child whose knowledge of the world is severely circumscribed by her fanatically Christian parents. Told entirely in the solipsistic point of view of Hester, the only child of paranoid, abusive parents, the novel pursues the girl's deeply troubling relationship with them and their bizarre world view. Begrudged her difficult birth, Hester is routinely hung, Christ-like, from her arms in the basement by her depressed mother, who sequesters the young girl in their shared cabin, her only book The Abridged Picture Bible. Hester's brief foray to school, thanks to the intervention of the town authorities, proves eye-opening (she makes her first friend, Mary), but ultimately disastrous. Molested by her father through her adolescence, Hester is finally institutionalized when her parents can no longer control her. Laguna's rendering of Hester's fragile mental state is sympathetic and touching, especially through imagined dialogue with inanimate objects and in the friendship Hester makes with Mary, and then in the institution, with Norma. A truly haunting tale that readers won't soon forget, from a compelling, original voice.