The messages in the book are powerful and well-timed. The protagonist is a hard woman with a lot of emotional baggage due to sexual abuse by her father. She's developed a tough outer shell yet feeds her humanity by rescuing abused animals from the streets or inappropriate homes. By rescuing, I mean she rates the animals well being far above the human well-being. Not that I blame her, I'm just disconcerted by her maverick approach. Basically, she likes to cause bodily harm.
Somewhat tangential at times, the author gives the protagonist different aspects that could have very easily been expounded upon yet seem out of place and extraneous. I guess I didn't see the connection between being a tattoo artist, a dog rescuer, a sumo trainer, and a head basher and the story she had to tell. If I were left on my own to connect the dots, I would probably go with the fact that Jo, the protagonist, clings to her hard exterior with all her might in order to escape her past. Yet, in the cloak of darkness, Jo's humanity for animals is free to develop.
Edgy? Absolutely. In fact, without warning the reader feels assaulted by the strong language and vivid description of her abuse. I think what I really want to express is that it didn't flow freely for me. The details were jagged and incomplete.
That said, the author paints a perfect picture of the conflicted relationship between an abusive father, a distant mother, and a tormented grown daughter. I found the relationship Jo chose once her father could no longer hurt her to be poignant and very real. She comes to terms with the nightmare he was to her yet accepts the tenderness she feels for him as a broken and hurting human being.
At the core of the story, however, is that of letting go of fear, anger, and trusting in God to heal.