Friday, December 19, 2008

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

« Back to Table of Contents.

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.

You know, it’s impossible to enjoy books dealing with sexual abuse. I may end up loving them, but rest assured I do not enjoy them. There’s a difference. However, with Laura Wiess’s books, for instance, the main character Meredith’s combat with her reality made the book compulsively readable for me—I wasn’t able to put it down. Here, however, by the time the book starts, Alice (as she is called for the majority of the book) is already dead to the world. She’s resigned to her reality and is the very embodiment of hopelessness. Although her voice is strong, she is, as the title implies, a living dead girl.

That, to me, makes the book a whole different kind of heartbreaking. It made me want to set it down to take a breather many times. The only thing that saved me there was the fact that when faced with these stories, I can numb myself away.

And all of the above is what led me to understand Chris Crutcher’s blurb: “Living Dead Girl is a book you have to put down; then you have to pick it right back up.”

Living Dead Girl isn’t explicit but it’s graphic. The narrator is distant, but it hits close to home. It’s got a devastating but hooking plot, and even if I hate what Alice had—and tried—to do, it was just impossible not to pity her because she was, too, a victim. In all her years of abuse, she’s lost herself, and when presented with a chance to be freed from it all, an overpowering sense of survival takes her in.

This is another one of those no-easy-answers reads. This is Elizabeth’s writing at its best, I think. Definitely recommended. B+. (To justify my grade: I wish Ray’s character had been built better. I’m still considering Alice’s displeasure with talking about him as a reason for his sometimes thin characterization, though.)

Still wondering why a 176-page book was released in hardback when Perfect You - from the same publisher - was like 300 pages and paperback. I get the profit thing, but come on.

Further: See what everyone else is saying.
Girl Week is a week-long event here on the blog celebrating strong YA heroines and feminism. Find out more about it here.

« Back to Table of Contents.


Amee said...

I don't usually read these sorts of books, but I plan to read this one just because Elizabeth wrote it. :)

I also don't understand why it's hardback! Definite bummer.

Anonymous said...

Still haven't gotten a chance to read it. Maybe when it's in paperback, not really a fan of hardcovers.

Becky said...

I didn't 'enjoy' this one. But it sure was powerfully written.

Mari said...

Haven't read this one yet but have seen some good reviews of it. Thanks for your truthful review.

Alea said...

Yeah I wondered that too. Something, Maybe will be hardcover I think right?

Liv said...

This is DEFINITELY a "no easy answer" book. I'm glad you liked it though. It's the kind of story that gets under your skin. I read it a month ago and am still thinking about it. *shivers*

Chelsea said...

Loved this. Such a powerful book for such a teensy page count.

Shalonda said...

This was one of the best books of the year! Like Chelsea said, "Powerful." That's the best word to describe it. While it is not a fun read, it is an important one.

Carolina said...

This was an awesome book (and awesome review)! Yeah, I don't get the whole releasing this book in hardback. It's too short and most won't pay the $17.99 price for such a short book.

Anonymous said...

Even though it's a short book, I think it ended up in hardcover because of the subject matter. To lend it more legitimacy. It's a potentially controversial subject for a book (which sucks, because we *need* books like this, but there will always be people who don't think teens should be reading about things like sexual abuse, even though thousands of teens, and younger kids, are being abused), paperbacks don't get reviewed as often as hardcovers, and a lot of people think hardcovers are, well, "better" and more serious than paperbacks (you know, since this is not a romance like Bloom and Perfect You).


Sarah Woodard said...

I really loved this book, though it was so sad.

Alessandra said...

I, too, think this ended up in hardcover because it has is a more "serious" and adult theme than the other books. I haven't read this but I would love to :)

ellie_enchanted said...

This is one of those books that I'm not sure I want to read. It's been getting great reviews, but the subject matter sounds... I don't know. I mean, it's obviously not a light read.
I think I will read it eventually. Whether sooner or later remains to be seen.

Book Sp(l)ot said...

I have this book (I think I actually won it from Elizabeth) but haven't read it yet--I keep wanting to read some really happy book before and after...

I think maybe it was hardcover because it wasn't a light subject matter? So it wouldn't be some $7 book that people would just pick up because it was short and cheap maybe? (I think that's a reason that makes more sense in my head than my explanation)

Okie said...

Great review. I hope to get to this book sometime this year.

Post a Comment

Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph