Realistic and helpful story about self-defence, Freya Moffat
April 26, 2022
Make a Hard Fist by Tina Shaw is about a teenager called Lizzie, who starts getting creepy letters in the mail. One day, while on a run, she is attacked in a reserve. From then on, she must deal with her trauma, learning how to defend herself and the possibility that her attacker is still out to find her.
I think the aim of this book is to spread awareness of situations like Lizzie’s. Unfortunately, the world we live in today is full of regular teenagers like Lizzie who end up in these dangerous situations even though they’ve done nothing wrong. Make a Hard Fist can inform people about these situations and raise awareness of the topic. Whether it is the author’s intention or not, the story could help people in these situations feel less alone, and like they have someone to relate to.
The characters are fantastic. They are easy to picture, and there are many little details, like little snippets of dialogue that help us get a deeper understanding of the characters and make them seem more natural. From the first line “’Which one of you idiots sent this?’” we get a good ideas of Lizzie’s character. We can tell that she is headstrong and confident, if not a little rude sometimes.
However, what makes this character even more compelling are the changes in her character after she is attacked. It completely changes how she feels, and we see that by the way she doesn’t make as many snide remarks as we know she would had she been herself. We see examples of this when she is working in the library and is kinder and more helpful to the customers. She even admits it to herself. Another thing that makes the characters seem even more realistic is the way they react to each other. They all have very realistic reactions to what other characters say or do, which makes it easier to get sucked into this book.
One thing I particularly liked is the way that Tina Shaw writes. Some books I’ve read use language that is hard to understand, or their writing style isn’t as enjoyable to read.
But in Make a Hard Fist, I can clearly picture everything that is happening, and fully understand what is going on. At the very end, there’s guidance of what to do if you’re ever in a situation like Lizzie’s. It shows weak points on the body and diagrams of some self-defence moves. This little detail could be really helpful to someone who is in a situation like Lizzie’s. In the back there are also phone numbers of places to call if you ever need help. To be totally honest, there wasn’t really anything that I disliked about the book, I found it very enjoyable the whole way through.
Make a Hard Fist is excellent: it’s interesting, with the right balance of humour and soberness to make it just perfect. As I was reading, I felt drawn into the life of Lizzie, and could clearly picture everything that was going on. Overall, this book was an excellent read and I definitely recommend it.
- Freya is 16 and lives in Nelson.