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23 September 2008

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Elizabeth

No.

Elizabeth

But thanks for the warning. I liked Bloom and Perfect You. I might have just auto-purchased.

Leila

Wait, no what? No, not for you? No, you disagree?

I need more!! (I totally want to talk about this book with someone!)

Melissa

Oh, I'm so glad to find someone else who was dissatisfied with the ending! You're right that it was very abrupt--your comment about missing pages especially. For me, I just thought the book stopped instead of ending. I didn't feel like the story had come to a natural conclusion; it was just wrapped up, regardless of whether it was organic to the story. And also, after all that Alice went through, I wanted to know enough to infer whether she had died or not. Maybe I hadn't read the book closely enough to be able to get that, but I finished it and went "Well . . . so what happened?"

Leila

I assumed that she died, because of the "I am free" at the end. I do think that it could be read either way, though.

But, yeah -- I think you're exactly right about stopping vs. ending.

chrissy

I second the "No" but I will explain: No, as in no way in the 9 nine hells or 7 seven heavens or anyway/where/why will I ever read this. Having enough issues with the new parenting thing.

However, it brought to mind this Guardian review that apparently has been haunting me for a couple of years:
https://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/may/15/biography.features1

And because of it I have things rolling around in my head like "Did fictionalizing it make it less/more horrific? Did it need to be fictionalized (as there are more than a few memoirs of this sort out there)?" Do these questions matter? I don't know. It's just where my mind went. Fiction or memoir I know it is a subject I just could not read about.

Patti

This book kind of makes me sick just thinking about it. I am not interested in reading about it in the least. I'm sure there is a place for this book - and surely it will appeal to someone out there, but it just seems like too much. I was feeling as though it was indulging voyeurism and your review sort of reinforced that.

Allie

Totally agree with your review. Would like to add that Elizabeth Scott is extremely talented & she did an excellent job with this book even if I did not enjoy it and I would not recommend it without serious reservations.

I think it is an important book in that we really see & feel the consequences of our actions when we see things that are not right and look the other way, rationalize it, and/or assume we must be overreacting. Alice had so many chances when someone could have stepped in for her, most notably at the spa place (ugh & double ugh). But no one does, until it is too late.

And yes, people DO look the other way--I don't believe *no one* saw anything wrong in the relationship between the man and his kidnapped victim over the years(can't remember the town or names, but it made news when he kidnapped another boy and they caught him soon after, living with both boys) and yet no one did anything.

I think the message here was a powerful one, if extremely uncomfortable & even traumatizing to read.

Leila

Chrissy: Jee. Sus.

I can certainly see why you remembered that review.

And I've had a lot of that rolling around in my head, too. I do think that keeping it (this novel) non-graphic made it more horrific, because it was MY brain that was filling in the details -- and because if it had been graphic, I think it would have been possible to maybe discount the book as a form of torture porn. (Does that make sense? It does in my head. I am NOT saying that LDG is TP.)

Re: the does it need to be fictionalized question, I dunno. That question could be asked about pretty much any realistic fiction. But I understand the feeling/impulse to ask it regardless.

Phew. My co-worker is taking it home tonight. I'm curious to see what she'll make of it.

Patti: I get that. I didn't really mean to suggest that it was indulging voyeurism. I mean, it did make me feel like a voyeur, but I think that was mainly because made me feel so helpless. Maybe? I haven't completely figured my feelings out about it! At any rate, I wanted to reach into the book and pull Alice out and (obvs) I couldn't.

As Allie said, there were moments that people could have reached out to Alice -- and actually, there was a character (the female cop in the park) who did. But as everything came to a head so quickly, the cop wasn't able to do much more than give her a card.

I thought Alice's anger was really well done. Her frustration with the audiences on talk shows ("Why didn't she leave him", etc.) was especially good, I thought, as were her fears about escaping Ray. (Basically, he threatened to go after her parents -- and he makes it abundantly clear that it isn't an empty threat.)

Elizabeth

Sorry for the vagueness. I was not disagreeing with you, Leila. I just meant: no, not for me. Definitely not for me. I really like Elizabeth Scott, but I'm gonna give this one a pass. Re Chrissy's point: In general, I try to avoid asking that "why write about this" question because I think 1) none of us can really control what captures our imaginations and 2) authors should feel free to write about whatever they want. Correspondingly, though, readers are free not to read stuff they're pretty sure would give them nightmares.

Just out of curiosity, Leila, Melissa and Allie--why did you read it? I don't mean anything personal by that, I'm just wondering what made you pick up a book you don't seem to have enjoyed reading. Did the back cover make it sound different? Did someone recommend it to you?

Melissa

In response to Elizabeth: I picked it up because it was relatively short, the blurb looked interesting, and I hadn't read anything by Elizabeth Scott. And since this was the fourth book of hers that has been published in the last three-or-so years, I was curious about her abilities.

Frankly, I felt somewhat mislead by the blurb, because it did not hint at the amount of sexual abuse that Alice suffered. For me at least, physical abuse does not equal sexual abuse. Once I realized what was going on--and my mind starting filling in the blanks--I felt very disturbed. YMMV, but I'm half-tempted to send an email to the publisher saying that they might want to revise the blurb a bit.

Elizabeth

@Melissa: I went and read the blurb for myself. From what you've all said here, I can see how you might be a little peeved.

Leila

Oh, no problem, Elizabeth, I was just curious about which way you were leaning! And I think your answer to the "why write this?" question is a good one.

I read it because I've luuurved all of Elizabeth Scott's other books, because it sounded so different from her others that I was way curious and because it's one I know I'll get questions about at the library (assuming the YA librarian orders it -- I don't have anything to do with the ordering here...)

It's such an rare feeling, to read a book, find it well-written and effective, and yet, not enjoy it. But if I'd enjoyed my reading experience, I don't think it would have been an effective book. I think that some people felt the same way about Chris Lynch's Inexcusable.

Elizabeth

That's an interesting point. I'm trying to think of an example of a well-written, effective book that I didn't enjoy. Maybe Speak? Although I think I sort of enjoyed that. I can think of lots of books I'm told are not-so-well-written that I've really enjoyed (although I quibble with the "not well written" thing because, well, what exactly are the criteria? Isn't "enjoyable" enough?) but, yeah, I think the converse is pretty unusual.

Leila

Well, I enjoyed the crap out of Twilight, New Moon and Breaking Dawn*, and they weren't particularly well-written. (At least in my opinion.)

*Eclipse, I just flat-out hated.

allie

In response to Elizabeth's question about why I (and others) read it:
"I don't mean anything personal by that, I'm just wondering what made you pick up a book you don't seem to have enjoyed reading."

Apologies, Leila, this is gonna be wordy!

Hey Elizabeth! I did not expect to be so disturbed--my imagination was not good enough to give me a clue what reading this would be like. It's really disturbing reading something like this from a kid's (even a fake kid, Scott is very believable) point of view. I had read a few true crime books in the past but was not prepared for that. Once I was in, though, I had to see if Alice made it out of that situation. I couldn't walk away from it and not know that she was saved. Even though I wanted to!

Why did I pick it up in the first place? I love Elizabeth Scott's writing style. As a wanna-be YA writer and future YA librarian, I wanted to see how she handled this subject matter. I just did not see how it would be possible to pull it off and do it well and not shy away from the brutal truth but still be conscious of the reading level, etc. What a tightrope walk, you know? So I really came at from wanting to see the execution on a writer's level more than an interest in the storyline, if that makes sense.

I agree it is our right to avoid nightmare-inducing books & I generally do! But at the same time, this book really made me think. It is all too easy to be wrapped up in our own concerns and look through a disturbing situation instead of right at it.

I had an abusive parent (NOTHING like this) and from her behavior to others in our town, as well as other family members, I think they had to know it. No one helped us, no one even asked the right questions. Later, people said, "Why didn't you tell us? If only you had told us." As though they blamed us, the kids, even though they had to know. They had to know--they did know. They just didn't want to look it in the face. Scott really captures the not-okayness of that situation, and it is so common.

So while I was disturbed, even disgusted, I still think it is a well-written and important book.


Patti

Oh I'm glad it wasn't doing that then. I've only read Stealing Heaven, but really enjoyed that.

As for books that I've read that were well written, but didn't quite enjoy - Madapple by Christina Meldrum comes to mind. Really well written, but after reading it I wasn't completely sure I had enjoyed it. a little off subject, but I thought I would share.

Casey

I have not read LDG yet but I am on a waiting list for it. I am interested in reading it because of its similarities to Laura Weiss' Such a Pretty Girl. I thought Such a Pretty Girl was an amazing novel but it was in no way enjoyable. For those who don't know it, the story is about a teenage girl, Meredith, whose father sexually abused her and other children in her town, has gone to prison on her testimony, but is about to be released. Meredith's mother constantly chooses Meredith's father over Meredith and doesn't believe that Meredith has been abused therefore will in no way enforce the law that he is not to be allowed alone with Meredith. That summary doesn't do it justice but there it is. This was a horrible tale but amazingly done. While not enjoyable I felt better for having read it. Has anyone read both Such a Pretty Girl and LDG? I'm wondering if I will have the same reaction to LDG.

Chrissy

Interesting discussion in general...Yeah, I don't mean to question "Why" to authors. It just popped in my head related to the fiction vs. non-fiction for this particular topic. I sort of put on my old and dusty bookseller hat and thought about who I would hand sell this book to. It was sort of a short list, top of which would be folks who read and have an interest in the true crime books, but would they be interested in a fictional story? I don't know, I have no answer for that. Maybe folks who liked Inexcusable and What Happened to Cass McBride and Breathing Underwater? But this one is so far beyond those, and those are POV of the perpetrator for the most part and this one is POV of the victim. I have no idea. But as with all YA with difficult subject matter, it certainly has its place in the genre. I'm glad it is still getting praise even with the offputtingness of the subject. I'm just not brave enough to read it, and it's just one of those books that I have no idea what I would do with for recommendations, though I agree with Allie - it is an important book. I can see that just with the discussion here.

Josie

I thought although the book is disturbing, and stays with you that it was very important that this book be read because this is a serious problem many people don't take serious enough. I thought it really brought into perspective how important an issue this is.

Kathryn

Errg, this book gave me nightmares. I seriously walked around with a weapon in my pocket for days. I was walking through B&N,and I saw it on the bookshelf and said to myself "oh this looks interesting" and stood there and read the whole thing in the bookstore. Mostly because once I realized what it was about, I was waiting for Alice to kill him. Arrg sick sick man.This book seriously tramutized me for life. Even so, I agree that it is an important book, I only worry that if people read to much about stuff like this, they'll become desensitized to the real thing because they'll see it as just another story. That and it could seriously hurt and tramutrize tweens who pick it up out of curiosity.

I do wonder(and I know this is getting long, so please bear with me)what inspired the author to write this book. Did something similer ever happen to her or was it just a whim? And if it was a whim or a response to something that happened to someone else, than what did it do to her to the write the book? I mean if we were freaked just reading it, imagine the nightmares Scott might have had while writing it. I pretty much agree with most of the comments on here, so there's not much else to say. Thanks for reading this whole long thing!

Jessica

This book was absolutely amazing. I got so physically in to it that i honestly felt sick. In one part, when we squeezing her neck, i found it hard to swallow. It fills my mind constently and has made me timid to going out in public alone.

Laura

I am scared of strangers now. This book has made me physically sick as well and made me cry. I can't stand it.

BibliOphelia

I read the book last night and couldn't help but be disturbed by it. I think it is tremendously written; a great example that a powerful story does not have to be wordy or lengthy. I read it, of course, because of the reviews and discussions, and while appreciating the quality of the writing, wishing I hadn't read it. The book can't help but change you. I'd love to discuss it with my teenage daughter -- on the other hand, I am scared to give it to her for fear it will completely freak her out. Adults, on the other hand -- it should be requird reading.

I didn't find the ending abrupt or dissatisfying -- it could have ended no other way. How could Alice ever go back to 623 Daisy Lane? With her ended the cycle of abuse that started with Ray's mother.

Kaethe

"How could Alice ever go back to 623 Daisy Lane?"

Of course, Alice didn't come from Daisy Lane; Alice was Ray's invention.

I can't say I enjoyed the book, but I did find it compelling reading. The ending did seem a little chaotic and rushed and in one way I was tremendously disappointed. Because having managed to survive for five years, I wanted her go on. The end seemed rather to reinforce the idea of "a fate worse than death", that there was no other possibility for Kyla. It's the bleakest story I've ever read.

lauren

The summary reminds me of a book i read called, Gemma. It's about a little girl who was sold for sex in a way to her dad's friend by her dad(or stepdad i dont remember) and she was abused by the father also. But the guy she was sold to ended up abducting her and unlike this book apparently, it gets pretty graphic and it's definitely disturbing, not enjoyable like you said. But really a great read, I recommend books like this because they're not sugar coated and you get a whole different experience from reading when the author gets real with the horrors of life. I think books like these are definitely more terrifying than any horror novel, give it a try. haha

miranda

ok... did she die or not because i thought she did but my friend thought she didnt...so it can probally go either way.. but is it supposed to do that? idk someone should answer me

Ally

do u guys know how to get a free copy of this book? pdf maybe? i would like to read it.

Leila

If you want to read it for free, borrow it from the library.

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GA

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