Book review: The Silent Witness by Casey Watson

Hi everyone,

So I just finished reading Casey’s latest memoir The Silent Witness.

I honestly have liked some of her other books better.

On Christmas Eve 12 year old Bella comes to Casey’s house as an emergency placement. Just a week ago she was taken into care when it was reported that her mother attacked her alcoholic father and caused significant brain injury while they were both drunk and in a huge fight. They were known to the neighbors and she particularly for “giving as good as she got” I.E being quite a physical aggressor herself. There were all sorts of stories about this couple and it was clear their issues were quite a scene for the neighborhood.

Meanwhile as Bella had been in care for a week she had been completely silent the whole time. She was clearly totally traumatized. When an emergency came up for the carers she had been with, Casey and family took her in.

It took her a full couple of days to say one word to Casey. She bonded more easily with Marley Mai, and Tyler though was very withdrawn around adults. Everyone was trying to get her to talk about what happened as she’s the only one who saw the events of that terrible night.

Her stepfather had a very close call but did recov er. What was most painful for Bella was going to visit her mom in prison. She was clearly distressed. Her social worker was amazing, always there when Casey called her and she was really a very important person in Bella’s life. They had a counselor dcome to the house but Bella wouldn’t talk.

She started to integrate into the family and time passed where lawyers were doing their legal thing getting ready for a trial. It’s through the close and trusting relationship Bella built woith Casey that gave her the courage to eventually talk about that night. The truth is horrific and shocking but not surprising.

Like Runaway Girl this book is an example of a child who once having expressed her trauma in words, was able to literally move on with her life. The ending was a bit too predictable and “happy
“ for such a story. Kind of unrealistic to me honestly. I would have preffered to see her deal with the aftermath of everything, especially having told the truth, to have there been long lasting emotional scars that impacted her relationships and that she’d continue to have to work through. I just can’t imagine having gone through what she did, not only that night but years of witnessing horrific emotional and physical abuse without lasting emotional effects.

The scenes between Bella and Marley Mai were particularly touching as was Casey’s gentle persistence and tough conversations about telling the truth, whether to break a promise or not and other things that really laid the foundation for Bella to trust and open up.

Like I said I liked some of her other books much better and the ending just seemed way too put together but am interested to hear what others think.

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