Friday, February 21, 2020

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell- March 10th




I completely underestimated how dark this book was actually going to be. Clearly the title is an indicator. If you didn't catch on from the title well there is clearly a sensational book description that makes it clear what the subject matter was going to be. Yet....I was still deeply disturbed by what I was reading. I can't stress how dark, disturbing and difficult this was to read. That being said, I could not put this down. I am not even sure I can muster the words to give this book the review that it deserves. It was just that powerful.

After reading this I can see why the author specifically stated that this is not a story about herself, or anyone that she personally knows for that matter. It is just about all the girls like Vanessa in the world. I have decided the reason this book was so incredibly hard to read is because it is so real. Somehow this debut author has managed to make Vanessa so damn real that you would swear she was writing her own story. You would swear Vanessa was typing her story furiously onto the pages, perhaps in a diary.

With the whole "me too" movement we have heard many different voices. Yet this story managed to floor me. It was from Vanessa's point of view, that she was not a victim. That she had chosen to get into a relationship with her English instructor Jacob Strane. I had never given this consideration that the victim would not realize they were the victim. She was clearly the victim of this vile, disgusting man that used his power and position to lure Vanessa in. What if the victim doesn't realize it? She sees it as a "love story". She thinks he is kind and caring, impressed that he would take the time to notice her- that she is special.


My emotions were all over the place reading this. This stirred such an array of feelings in me. I was distraught, disgusted, angry and sad. Being a 15 year girl many years ago, I can see how Vanessa was realizing that she had a power over men. How she was just discovering that she could make them look her way. Some of the details are so graphic I considered putting down the book and taking a break from it as I felt I really couldn't endure any more of it. Except I couldn't put it down. I had to know how this ended for Vanessa.

I very rarely get this emotionally involved in a book, but this one destroyed me. That being said- it is a must read! It will be hard to read the graphic details, but it is hard because you know this is the truth. This is what is happening to girls like Vanessa every day. The author spun a story that so uniquely shows a glimpse into the victim's mind. A victim that doesn't even realize she is a victim or is she just telling herself that to protect herself?

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