Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: 8 September 2009
Date Finished: 10 September 2010
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Reading Resolutions,Hogwarts Reading Challenge,
The Short and Sweet of It
Alice was kidnapped when she was ten years old. For the past five years, she has been living in hell, sexually abused by her kidnapper, unable to escape, and waiting for death.
A Bit of a Ramble
A first-person account of a young girl being sexually abused, Living Dead Girl is a difficult read to say the least.
The writing is fantastic. This isn't your typical pathos-driven abuse story. The pain and terror and hopelessness aren't bursting off the pages in effusive language; instead it is the very absence of emotion that is so evocative. The sentences, the emotion in the structure is flat, revealing a psyche tortured to the point of apathy. Alice's voice lacks the typical qualities of teenage girls, lacks rhythm and metaphor and instead is simplistic, practical, and without beauty. She is numb.
The very structure of the novel adds to this with short, to-the-point chapters that range from one sentence to a few pages in length. For example, this is the entirety of chapter 27:
THREE LIFE LESSONS:The language is so brutal, simultaneously painful to read and wonderfully authentic. The lack of a multi-layered plot, the simplicity of the language, kept this a bare-bones, full-frontal assault. It also made it a quite fast read, about an hour and a half.
- No one will see you.
- No one will say anything.
- No one will save you.
I know what the once upon a time stories say, but they lie.
That's what stories are you know. Lies.
Look at that, for life lessons. Now you owe me.
I would like to say that Elizabeth Scott has balls. Big ones. Not only did she write about such a controversial topic from a first-person point of view, but she also dared to categorize it as Young Adult Literature. I am a rather liberal person, believing parents are fooling themselves about what their children know and about what their children can handle. But the detailed accounts of a 15 year old being raped over and over and over? I would have to be very, very sure that the teen reading this was wise beyond her years.
The contradiction between my enjoyment of the craft and horror at the content is making this a very difficult book to review. Because despite my love affair with the writing and the structure, I am still only giving this an Accept rating. I find it painful to just read the above chapter, let alone the ones where she is being raped. Recommending this novel is like telling someone to get on the rack because it's such a well-crafted instrument of torture.
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Question: Those of you who have read this, are you glad you read it? Those who haven't, do you plan on reading it and why or why not?