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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Living Dead Girl

Title: Living Dead Girl
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 
 September 2, 2008
Reviewer: Stephanie

Summary: 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

Review: When she is kidnapped by a pedophile from a school field trip at age ten and renamed “Alice,” she starts her transformation into a living dead girl, instead of the real, alive girl she used to be. Now fifteen, Alice has been abused by Ray for five years and it has understandably taken its toll. All Alice can hope for is death. Living Dead Girl is not the type of book that you can say that you enjoy. The corrosive and soul destroying effects of her situation make it all but impossible for Alice to hold on to her humanity, and especially her individual identity. There was an “Alice” before her and now Ray wants her to find a replacement, which will mean her own death- a death that Alice welcomes.

One of the strengths that stand out for me in Living Dead Girl is the way that Scott holds the reader accountable for pointing fingers and assigning blame in experiences we can’t possibly understand. We don’t look closely and investigate. There is a communal blindness that allows this type of wrongness and abuse to continue for as long as it does. Through Alice, Scott addresses the way we as a society question victims and hold them responsible for not escaping their captors, for not speaking up more, for not telling people about the trouble that they are in. We refuse to see and then we blame them for not being rescued.

This was not a complicated book. While the subject matter was incredibly difficult, the book itself is stark and bare. Scott’s writing style is sparse, in an effort to reinforce the bleak nature of the novel. There isn’t a lot of hope in this book, which makes it that much harder to read. Living Dead Girl is told from the point of view of Alice, and she narrates with such numbness that the entire novel is just haunting. Elizabeth Scott is an amazing writer, and she makes this story into exactly what it is supposed to be. It's beautifully written, for a topic so disturbing and terrifying.

I do highly recommend this book but it definitely is not a book for everyone. If you can go to the dark side, if you can walk in Alice’s shoes for a bit, it is really something.

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