book about a mute Mayan girl kept under lock and key in the Guatemalan jungle
by her parents, and the effect she has on those around her. To me, the cover
picture is not meant to be literal; it is a symbolic representation of all that
Inez has been through, all that she has suffered. Inez is Mayan, and this girl
could be Philippine or Vietnamese – but I was okay with that. I was also okay
with the fact that the girl has clean hair and feet, and that the box, unlike
the shed in the book, is cardboard.
being held in a windowless wooden shed. Her hair is matted, her feet would very
likely be dirty. The box on the cover is meant to show how Inez is closed in on
herself in so many ways, including her inability to speak.
which seemed to capture Inez’s psychological rather than physical condition.
The only concession I made to match the Inez in the book to the girl on the cover
was to make her hair long, when I had originally described it as short and
spiky. On reflection, this made more sense. How would her parents have cut her
hair? They were too poor even to own scissors.
the girl in the photo is nude, but she pointed out to me that she isn’t. You
can see tank top straps, and she is meant to be wearing a bathing suit or
shorts. To me, she looks very sad.
was clean, and “wearing lipstick”. Her lips look natural to me. I did, in fact, ask the publisher and designer
to tone down the colour to avoid this misinterpretation. However, now she is
accused of wearing “teenage” lipstick – bubblegum pink.
insisted she was naked from the waist down and that the picture was sexual in
nature. I am horrified that he thought this, and am upset that others may think
so too. I, personally, do not find the picture sexual. Even if she was nude
(and she isn’t), nothing inappropriate can be seen, and her pose and expression
speak only of sadness and fear to me. As my son reassured me, “Not all nudity
is sexual. And she’s wearing clothes anyway.”
this way, I would have insisted it be changed. As it is, I asked only that it
be colour rather than black and white, that the lips be toned down, and the
skin darkened just a little to make Inez look more Mayan.
exploit sexuality in any way. She is a devout Christian and I know she would be
as shocked and disturbed as I was by this reaction to a shot meant to show a
sad and withdrawn young woman, in need of kindness and protection.
Inez, whose sense of wonder and innocence touches all who meet her, becomes a focal point for many of the Canadians who encounter her. As Caitlin struggles to uncover the truth about Inez’s relationship with Jerry, Inez struggles to break free of the projections of others. Each must confront her own anger and despair. The doctors in the north have an iciness that matches their surroundings, a kind of clinical armour that Caitlin must penetrate if she is to reach Inez.
The Girl in the Box is a psychological drama of the highest order and a gripping tale of intrigue and passion.
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