Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Book: Living Dead Girl
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Published: 2008

Once upon a time, she had a mother and a father and she didn’t belong to Ray. Once upon a time, she was allowed to eat as much as she wanted, go to school, and speak to people. Once upon a time, she slept alone.

Once upon a time, she was not Alice.

Now she is.

She’s been Alice for five long years. Too long. She’s getting too tall, too heavy, too old for Ray. Now he wants a replacement. And Alice has to find her.

I read this book all in one go, and afterwards, I literally wandered around the house in a daze, weeping, until I sat down to write this review. This is not an easy book. This is the kind of book nobody should ever have to read because things like this wouldn’t happen. In saying that, I’m guilty of one of the things that Alice mentions over and over again. Ray has always gotten away with it because people look at her and don’t want to see what they see, because they don’t want it to be something that happens right next door.

I’m probably not making a whole lot of sense. I’m still half in that daze. What Elizabeth Scott does in this novel is take you deep inside the skin of a girl who’s been abused in so many different ways--sexually, physically, emotionally--that she’s been broken down into little more than a survival instinct. There’s nothing left but the will to escape. Not to live, to escape. She fully participates, even pursues, Ray’s plan of replacing her because she knows it will set her free, one way or the other. Where we want her to stand up and say, “No, no other little girl will endure what I did!” she doesn’t, because she’s long past the point where she can afford to care about anybody else. Along with every other vestige of humanity, that capability has crumbled to dust under the onslaught of the past five years.

I won’t spoil the end, but I will say that while many may be disappointed or angry at how it turns out, I think it’s the only way things could have happened for Alice. You’ll remember Living Dead Girl for a long, long time.

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