Friday, May 14, 2010

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

"Alice" is not her real name, but it's the only name she goes by now. She is a husk of a person, a girl who has been living with her abductor, Ray, for five years. Stolen away when she was eleven and on a school field trip, Alice has gotten used to living life as a slave. Only Alice is getting older; it's a fact she can't hide anymore, and Ray doesn't like older girls. What is she willing to do to escape?

A terrifying work of fiction that, unfortunately, mirrors real-life newspaper headlines, Living Dead Girl takes a serious look at what happens to victims of repeated abuse. Again and again, Alice forces us to look at the moments when someone could have noticed something was amiss and done something to help her. What she finds is a world that would rather look away than face the truth dead on.

This was chosen for our school's book club -- and then I chose it for my adult YA book club. It's a great one for all kinds of debate.

Bibliotherapeutic value: While absolutely devastating in its portrayal of a nightmarish situation, Living Dead Girl gets into Alice's head in a way that is hard to forget. Readers will understand that the cycle of violence and victimization -- once begun -- is almost impossible to break. It's a potent reminder that, in the words of Arthur Miller, "attention must be paid."

Scott, Elizabeth.  Living Dead Girl. Simon Pulse, 2008.

ISBN 978-1-4169-6059-1.  $16.99.

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