Living Dead Girl (Elizabeth Scott)

Living Dead Girl Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: "Once upon a time I was a little girl who disappeared. Once upon a time my name was not Alice. Once upon a time I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends - her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.
"

I am not sure I can put into words how terrifying I found this book. I knew its subject matter before reading it, so even before I started there was a knot of terrible anticipation in my stomach. Many of you have probably heard of this book already, so I won't rehash it - let me just say that even though I found this book terrifying and sickening, I also thought it was absolutely brilliant because of it.

Reading Living Dead Girl really made me consider the different reasons people have for reading in general. I read (as you know) many books for pleasure, and I expect to have pleasant reading experiences, for the most part. I like books with hilarity, fun secondary characters, feisty heroes and happy endings. When I pick up a book, it's more often than not an attempt to find a brighter world. Living Dead Girl is no such world, but I would still consider this an extremely valuable read.

It's important, I think, to occasionally read outside your comfort level, and this book was way outside of mine. I had a very strong physical reaction to this book, and it wasn't pleasant. But I truly feel that reading difficult books makes you a better person, that it can challenge your sensibilities and force you to reconsider your perspective. To me, this is the genius of Elizabeth Scott.

Sexual predation, especially targeted at children, is an enormously difficult subject to tackle, and Scott does it perfectly. Living Dead Girl's narration is unbearably creepy, hauntingly beautiful, and altogether tragic. It's an affecting story, and Scott strikes the perfect notes. The ending was believable and heartbreaking, and likely to stay with me for a long, long time.

Stunning. Heartbreaking. Horrifying. This book is flawless, both in its conception and execution, and it's an important work to have in the world. Would I recommend this book to everyone? Absolutely not, and certainly not to most younger teens. While I don't find the book offensive in the least, the subject matter (and the elegance with which it's presented) make a certain level of maturity and emotional distance key to getting through it unscathed.

Bravo, Elizabeth Scott. With this one short work, you've made yourself an author to watch.

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