Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A parent's worst nightmare

Today, I review two books with similar content.

The Missing Girl Norma Fox Mazer

There are five Herbert sisters and their family is having definite economic problems. There is also a man who watches them. He starts off creepy and gets creepier. You know right away that he will kidnap one and it will be bad.

The chapters are short and the characters well-drawn--chapters tend to focus on just one character and then switch for the next chapter, but this one just didn't grab me. I think because it was pretty obvious from chapter 1 what was going to happen. (A guy on a corner obsessively watching young girls? What do you think is going to happen? The big mystery is which sister will he eventually take.) but all this other stuff happens in between. There are almost three different books happening at once and it gets jumbled. By the time one sister goes missing, I was wrapped up in this other plot (one sister getting "loaned out" to save costs) and it just got dropped.

Yes, life is what happens when other things were going on but... there were so many "main" characters and so much going on, that I never really connected to any of the characters or the "main" story.

Living Dead Girl Elizabeth Scott

Alice wasn't always her name. When she was ten, she wandered off from a school field trip and Ray took her. She is now sixteen and too old, too tall, and no longer a small child. Ray wants her to find her replacement before he kills her.

Scott's take on the same subject is drastically more chilling, told in Alice's voice, focusing solely on her story. In addition to the horrific sexual abuse it's the psychological abuse that leaves the reader the most shaken. I picked this up and just started reading, really just planning on glancing through it, and didn't put it down until I was done.

When this first came out and was getting more coverage, many people were hesitant about giving it to readers, due to the horror and "graphicness" of it. I have to say I disagree. Yes, there are parts of this book that disgusted me. But the language isn't graphic. You need a certain worldly knowledge in order to know what, exactly, Scott is talking about. It's also the type of thing that horrifies adults, parents especially, much more than it will horrify teen readers. I'd say that this book is for high school readers, but I would have loved this when I was in junior high. There is a part of me that wants to give it to people who are probably not ready for it and scream "See! This is what happens when you wander off! This is what happens when you talk to strangers! Be safe!!!!" But, don't worry, I won't.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Thanks for the book reviews. I hate it when a book drops so many clues along the way that it's obvious how it's going to end when it's barely even started.