or the most disturbing book I have read in a long time.
My friend Amy is always good for a book recommendation. We share similar tastes and she always has some quirky title at the right moment that I can tear through. When she asked if I had read Elizabeth Scott’s Living Dead Girl and described the plot, part of me was repulsed and the other was eager for a good read. I quickly requested it from another library and waited for its arrival.
What a powerfully, weird book!
Where do I begin?
Basic plot: Fifteen year old “Alice” has spent the last five years being abused by Ray who kidnapped her during a class trip. As her body begins to defy Ray’s attempts to keep her a child, Alice is waiting for her release in the form of death which Ray has alluded happened to her predecessor. Only Ray has a fate much worst than death: Alice is to pick the next victim and train them to ‘care’ for Ray as Alice has for five years.
I have such a physical reaction to this book that, without exaggeration, I couldn’t read more than a few chapters at a time. It’s a relatively short book with small chapters but those chapters pack it in.
It’s obvious that Ray is sexually abusing Alice but Scott’s writing is neither graphic or gratuitous. Scott’s writing draws you in, makes Alice real and had me holding my breath as I devoured each word. The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness Alice experiences.
Why doesn’t she run? It’s obvious that Ray has torn Alice down bit by bit until she only sees herself as an object deserving such treatment and abuse. Ray has methodically broken her down with threats to her family, making her feel guilty and putting the blame on her.
Why isn’t anyone noticing her pain? Alice is invisible to other people. They ignore her obvious need for help. The people around her have their own pain to deal with and cannot bear hers as well. (Working with the public I wonder how many Alices I have written off as a PITA? shudder!)
With each page read, I felt that I should grab The Bee and never let go. I do not enjoy books in which children are hurt or abused but this book was such a commanding piece of fiction that I have to give it praise. I will probably order a copy for my patrons and will definitely have Delaware County Internet Safety task force in for another presentation.
Taking deep breaths,