‘Such Small Hands’ by Andrés Barba – Children vs. Child

‘Such Small Hands’ by Andrés Barba (2008) – 105 pages            Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman

‘Such Small Hands’ is about a world we adults are not much aware of, the world of children versus children. Adults tend to consider the lives of children as all sweetness and light, but those little lives are not.

‘Such Small Hands’ begins with an horrific car accident. Marina, the seven-year-old daughter is injured but survives. Her father died instantly; her mother died in the hospital.

Early after the accident a woman psychologist gives Marina a doll “to make her a real girl once and for all”.

After she recovers from her injuries, Marina is sent to a girls’ orphanage. The rest of the girls treat her as an outcast, probably because she is new and she has had a well-to-do childhood up to that point. She had even visited Disneyland Paris with her parents.

What do we care about Mickey Mouse and Disneyland and your stupid vacation?”

We stuck our tongue out at her.

And there was a roller coaster, and I went on it three times.”

There are two “voices” or points of view in ‘Such Small Hands’. One is the voice of Marina and the other is the collective voice of the other girls at the orphanage.

If the adults weren’t watching, we hit her.”

‘Such Little Hands’ is a novella that captures the real world of small children. Things aren’t always nicey-nice in their world, despite what adults may assume. Remember your early days in grade school. Little children can be mean and cruel especially to those children who are considered outcasts. Children quickly pick up their parents’ values, and those values can be awfully prejudiced. The children have few restraints to their behavior.

‘Such Small Hands’ causes us to remember the extreme cruelty of children. Thus it is disquieting to read.

 

Grade:   A-

 

 

8 responses to this post.

  1. Loved this book. The UK version had a jellybaby sweet doll on the front which was quite creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Hi Annabel,
      I see that cover now. If I had noticed it before, I probably would have used that cover for this article. I did switch to that cover now. 🙂

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      Reply

  2. I really loved this – it captured that particular cruelty of children so well.

    Like

    Reply

    • Hi Cathy,
      Yes, it brought back memories of my early school days when some of the kids were really mean to the other kids they didn’t like. But that was mostly boys being obnoxious, not so much girls.

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      Reply

  3. This has been on my radar for a while, I love novels which have children as key characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Hi heavenali,
      I can’t remember the last novel I read with children as the main protagonists, but I;m sure there must be some since ‘Lord of the Flies’.

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  4. I thought this excellent. Strange and disturbing. You capture it well. The device of a communal voice for the other girls is unusual and I thought worked particularly well here.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Hi Max,
      Yes, that communal voice of the other girls in the orphanage works, as you say, very well here. I’ve seen that device before like when a new kid joins the police force or when an office hires someone new, and the others on the police force or in the office have a communal impression.

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      Reply

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