My Dark Vanessa PDF/EPUB Ý My Dark Epub /

My Dark Vanessa [Read] ➱ My Dark Vanessa By Kate Elizabeth Russell – Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher a brilliant all consuming read that marks the explosive Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve My Dark Epub / teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher a brilliant all consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer Bright ambitious and yearning for adulthood fifteen year old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane her magnetic and guileful forty two year old English teacher Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men a reckoning is coming due Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student who reaches out to Vanessa and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice remain silent firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship or redefine herself and the events of her past But how can Vanessa reject her first love the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believedAlternating between Vanessa’s present and her past My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield Thought provoking and impossible to put down this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital uestions about agency consent complicity and victimhood Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room My Dark Vanessa is an era defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural s transforming our relationships and society itself.

10 thoughts on “My Dark Vanessa

  1. Roxane Roxane says:

    How do you best write about a fictional love affair between a teacher and a 15 year old student that is actually a predatory relationship There are no easy answers to that uestion but that is what happens in My Dark Vanessa which alternates between 2000 and 2017 as we see how Vanessa Wye is groomed and then raped by her teacher Jacob Strane We see the repercussions she must deal with as an adult who does not allow herself to realize that the relationship was in fact abusive We see how a child is forced to carry the responsibility the adults around her should have assumed themselves The delicate and fraught nature of adolescence is captured well This book is definitely well written and the first half is well paced There is a strong sense of place— the landscape the sparseness The prose is tight and careful intimate and descriptive The protagonist Vanessa is fully realized and the author does a good job of showing Vanessa’s struggle to face what she experienced Her point of view and how it shifts over time is expertly managed and feels honest You see how pernicious this kind of abuse is because it makes Vanessa doubt herself and lose herself and see herself rather than the predator as the problem There is an interesting and relentlessly claustrophobic uality to the prose You want to escape the uiet horror of Vanessa’s story while also wanting to see how it all ends if she is going to be okay You want there to be a freeing moment of clean air without knowing if you will get itThere is some interesting cultural context developed through pop culture references Lolita and the evocation of #MeToo I suspect we are going to see uite a few novels doing this over the next several years as writers try to distill into fiction what has been happening culturally with regard to sexual violence There were ways the people in Vanessa’s life responded to her that were infuriating and inadeuate and that is all too often how these things goThe book does run too long After about 250 pages there is a thematic repetition that doesn’t serve the novel well Vanessa bites her cheek constantly It’s like girl is there anything left on the inside of your mouth Vanessa is fully realized but most of the other characters don’t get as much depth though they should I’m not crazy about the cover The real challenge I had with this book is that at times the abuse felt romanticized eroticized It gave me pause As the novel goes on there were so many rape scenes and I will always call it rape because that’s what it was that it just felt somewhat gratuitous And I suspect that’s kind of the point that Vanessa particularly at fifteen was torn between love and repulsion that she was shaped into someone who would see the situation as romantic while with the distance as readers we understand the situation as appalling Strane is clearly a horrible piece of shit Russell makes that crystal clear But I don’t know Does she go far enoughIt all made for a very uncomfortable read and I think this should be an uncomfortable read It should make your skin crawl to bear witness to years of predation and sexual abuse I guess I don’t know how I feel about that discomfort being brought about so prettily How DO you write this kind of book and get it right What does “right” look like These are uestions I am going to be thinking about for uite some timeAs for the discourse around this book online debates can be aggravating Believe it or not I do read the books I talk about so I can be reasonably well informed I have actually read My Dark Vanessa Wendy Ortiz’s essay published in Gay Magazine does not accuse the author of plagiarism It notes the similarities between the experience Ortiz writes about in her memoir Excavation and the plot of this novel I suspect there are similarities anyone who has experienced this kind of predation might see because predators are everywhere But that is a sliver of what her essay is about What Ortiz is really talking about is who gets to tell what kinds of stories according to the whims of publishing’s gatekeepers It’s an essay about the frustration of encountering closed doors time and again to a story about your lived experience while those same doors open to a fictional version of a similar story and how all too often whether doors are open or closed depends on your raceethnicity It’s an entirely understandable frustration and one primarily directed at the publishing industry As a side note it is not a demand for people to disclose a history of sexual violence if they write fiction about sexual violence; anyone demanding that is engaging in batshittery How does this even need to be saidBack to My Dark Vanessa—it’s not the kind of novel that is “fun” to read This is not escape fiction It is dark and disturbing an ambitious debut novel and one that is going to spark a lot of discussion and discomfort

  2. Emily May Emily May says:

    I think we're very similar Nessa he whispers From the way you write I can tell you're a dark romantic like me You like dark things 3 12 stars I really really want to give this book a higher rating but I cannot justify it when it is almost twice as long as it needed to be My Dark Vanessa has many powerful moments It's a discomfiting horrible story about an adult woman reevaluating the relationship she had with her English teacher when she was a teenager It is reminiscent of The Tale and of course Lolita which features heavily throughout Teenage Vanessa reads Lolita as a forbidden romance in which the titular protagonist is a cruel seductress but adult Vanessa begins to uestion that reasoningThe real power of this book is that it allows the reader to see how Vanessa truly falls for her abuser In the chapters where we relive her teenage years we are inside her head and experiencing his manipulation firsthand It is enticing It makes this lonely girl feel special intelligent and wanted She's not stupid; she's heard of rapists and child abusers But this is why Jacob Strane gets away with it why many abusers get away with it because they convince their victims they are the exception to the ruleAnd how exciting it is for a young girl to be the exception to the rule To be the one and surely the only one that could make a good man stray from the righteous path We see how well he seduces her into thinking that they are two dark and lonely souls meant for each other in this cruel cruel world How could anyone else possibly understand themI've almost talked myself into upping my rating by writing this review But here's the thing this book should have been a novella I don't know if there's a specific reason why the author shied away from writing a novella are they harder to publish but this story most certainly is one After a while there are long mind numbing stretches of boring repetition and superfluous detail So many things go on for too long Vanessa's relationship with Henry when she goes to a different school felt at best drawn out at worst it was completely unnecessary All of the secondary characters and there are uite a few were one dimensional Every single one There was a chunk in the middle that seemed to alternate between Nessa and Strane having revolting sexual encounters and long boring details of Vanessa's school and social life And for a book that spends so much time turning every detail of her life inside out it seems to end very abruptlyBut I will return to some positives because I am reluctant to end this review on a negative I thought it was excellent and very sad how the author showed the long term effects of the abuse on Vanessa's whole life her relationships her career and her sexuality It is so heart wrenching and disturbing when Vanessa catches herself imagining she is a young girl for sexual gratification and wonders if she too is a pervert I do recommend this book still I think it has a lot of important things to say and it cut me very deep It's just a shame that there is so much unnecessary paddingFacebook | Instagram

  3. Nilufer Ozmekik Nilufer Ozmekik says:

    Truth I started this book so many times and after few pages I felt suffocated my stomach churned sharp pain twisted my heart and I dropped it This happened several times and I tried to gather my wits wear my big girl’s pants and breathe in breathe out several times deeply And I started again This is most disturbing painful heart bleeding psychologically consuming complex soul crushing life changing story I’ve been lately read It’s harsh raw realistic provocative brave dark bleak terrifying The words like glass pieces cut through your mind and you don’t drop tears for Vanessa you just bleed out as like she does mentally throughout her journeyWhen she was only 15 Vanessa meets Jacob Strane 44 years teacher at Browick School in Norumbega Maine in 2000 Jacob was cunny man who knew exactly what he was getting himself into Vanessa felt special uniue free and braver with him But that was not true and she knows it She was a prey manipulated deceived raped brainwashed Jacob was evil smart insisting they were soul mates feeding her with literature masterpieces from Sylvia Plath to Emily Dickinson Edna St Vincent He was vile he was the predator and there was nothing about love passion about his motives He just took took and took till there was nothing left from Vanessa’s pure soul I know most of the teenagers aware about their sexual awakenings in younger ages They may reach anything even the graphic and erotic images from websites reading articles experiencing so many things They might be wiser from our younger versions thanks to website online and school educations and the parents’ open minded friendly approaches and communicative ways But that doesn’t mean they’re not innocent naïve and they are vulnerable They can still easily hurt And the emotional sharp scars they carry always stay in their hearts throughout their life journey From moving back and forth between 2000 and 2017 for understanding what kind of tremendous damage he created at Vanessa’s bleeding soul crying heart and unbalanced mental moods She told us her heartbreaking dark journey from a dark twisted tarnished exhausted mental state At 2017 Vanessa stuck with her dead end day time job getting therapy sessions for the grief after she lost her father She meets Jacob at a coffee shop and she realizes she feels the same about him after 17 years But Jacob has secret agenda to engage with her There is a misconduct case against him about sexual abusing his former student All the details posted on Facebook Did he do that But Vanessa thought she was special She was the only one What a minute Was she also abused Did he use her for his own sexual benefits Wasn’t their relationship special or did they ever have a real relationship What if you know anything about love consists of twisted abuse manipulation and dirty lies How Vanessa move on her life How can she form a real normal bounding with other human being How can she learn to trust any other people when the person she most loved is a shameless liar I couldn’t stop breathing even though the words cut my heart into tiny pieces and crushes my mind with sledgehammer I hurt I ached I cursed I punched the wall I screamed But sigh sigh sigh I love this book I truly love it It’s than five starred reading but it’s not for everyone It will take at least one week to gather myself I’m overwhelmed I’m so tired This book shattered me I think I stop everything resume sitting on the floor giving blank looks for days Oh Kate Elizabeth Russell you ruined me for other booksbloginstagramfacebooktwitter

  4. Cindy Cindy says:

    Tragic dark repulsive and infuriating this book dives deep into the complexities of abusive relationships grooming and trauma There are complicated layers that I think the author does well in putting together the timely pop culture references to show how pervasive the culture of sexualizing young girls is; the side characters that add to the complicity of fostering that culture; the way the #MeToo movement gets co opted by journalism and clickbait; how victimhood is encouraged and hailed automatically for women; the way we minimize trauma in order to cope with it; etc So many of the elements in this story come from a real place and its character study is handled realistically What encouraged me to bump my rating to 5 stars ultimately is the ending and its realism in uietly and slowly learning how to piece yourself back together

  5. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    Come and be worshipped come and be caressed My Dark Vanessa crimson barred my blest My Admirable butterfly Explain How could you in the gloam of Lilac Lane Have let uncouth hysterical John ShadeBlubber your face and ear and shoulder blade From the poem Pale Fire by NabakovVanessa Wye is thirty two years old working a dead end hotel job in Portland Maine and attending grief counseling therapy following the death of her father She cannot move on with her life I suppose many of us have faced similar straits the relationship that keeps its claws embedded long after the real connection has gone What’s different is that Vanessa’s big romance began when she was a fifteen year old at a prep school and it was with a forty something English teacher Recently contacted by a young woman who is reviving her charges of misconduct against the same teacher wanting Vanessa to talk about what had happened to her Vanessa’s recollections of her experience come to the fore helped along in her therapyKate Elizabeth Russell image from Split Lip MagazineWe all think or at least hope that we are special and are naturally drawn to people who appear to recognize our particular specialness But even with that this looks like an easy call an adult taking advantage of a child in his charge End of story But that is not the story Kate Elizabeth Russell is telling Based on her personal experiences as a teen in relationships with older men Russell asks where victimhood ends and agency begins She wonders about the arbitrariness of age specifications for statutory rape definitions Do all girls do all people mature at the same rate Is it not possible for there to be a fifteen year old with the capacity to decide for herself when to become sexually active and with whom We get Vanessa’s first person telling and her take on Jacob Strane forty five when he meets her at The Browick School in Norumbega Maine in 2000 It wasn’t about how young I was not for him Above everything else he loved my mind He said I had a genius level emotional intelligence and that I wrote like a prodigy that he could talk to me confide in me Lurking deep within me he said was a dark romanticism the same kind he saw within himself No one had understood that dark part of him until I came along If you are rolling your eyes and muttering puh leez you are not alone If it sounds to you like a pervy pedophile has gotten inside an unprepared kid’s head well I’m right there with you The uestion is not whether Strane is a manipulative predatory creep He clearly is But there may be to him At least through Vanessa’s eyes One can argue that an older man may be an appropriate partner for Vanessa as long as it is her choice Our society has clearly taken the position that a fifteen year old is not mature enough to make that choice the age of consent in all 50 US states is 16 or higher But are there any circumstances under which it is ok for Strane to be using his classroom as a recruiting venue for young stuff Even setting aside the institutional power imbalance are there any circumstance in which it is ok for a 45M to be seeing a 15F This is the tension in the novel Victimization versus agency Pawn versus power Where should those lines be drawn and who gets a say in their location The story moves back and forth between Vanessa’s past and present noting her growing interest in this man and his methodology for seducing her He uses an array of authors summoning Sylvia Plath Emily Dickinson Edna St Vincent Milay Jonathan Swift Robert Frost and from our literary pantheon to both enlighten his student and soften up his target Of course Lolita is a part of this I carry his books with me reading them whenever I can every spare few minutes and through every meal I start to realize the point isn’t really whether I like the books or not; it’s about him giving me different lenses to see myself through The poems are clues to help me understand why he’s so interested what it is exactly that he sees in me It also moves back and forth between showing Strane’s clear manipulation of Vanessa and a realization that in her newfound sexuality she has a say I have power Power to make it happen Power over him I was an idiot for not realizing this sooner There are many literary references sprinkled throughout the book noting some obvious and not so obvious writing of a sexual nature Strane also uses his English class lectures to point out elements of his relationship with Vanessa in a way that is obvious to her but opaue to the rest of the class A class discussion of blame in Ethan Frome for example is clearly intended for his special studentVanessa sees a definite benefit in dating older men and approaches this clear eyed I wasn’t pretty I’d have to wait a long time before anyone noticed me because boys had to mature before they cared about anything else In the meantime apparently my only option was to wait Like girls sitting in the bleachers at basketball games watching boys play or girls sitting on the couch watching boys play video games Endless waiting It’s funny to think how wrong Mom was about all that Because there’s another option for those brave enough to take it—bypass boys altogether go straight to men Men will never make you wait men who are starved and grateful for scraps of attention who fall in love so hard they throw themselves at your feet But there is one element here that adds some depth to Vanessa’s situation V’s freshman year roomie was one Jenny Murphy They had become very close until Jenny got a boyfriend and became unavailable I wonder how it’s possible that I once felt so much for her yearned to be closer even as I slept beside her in the same small room our bodies three feet apart I think of her navy blue bathrobe hanging on the back of the door the little boxes of raisins wrapped in cellophane that sat on the shelf above her desk how she smeared lilac scented lotion on her legs at night the wet spots on her t shirt from her freshly washed hair Sometimes she binged on microwave pizzas the shame pulsing out of her as she ate I had noticed everything about her every single thing she did but why What was it about her Uh huh Sounds like V had had than a bit of a crush on J It is not until after they break up when they are sophos that the antics with Brane commence Rebound anyoneRussell clearly does not line up directly with the current torrent of sexual predation exposure that has become a daily part of our news feed The book has evolved gradually of course but took on a whole new meaning as the #MeToo movement gained steam last year It forced Russell to not only reevaluate her characters’ journeys — an accusation plot line had been moved to the center — but also her own experiences “I remember a point where I was scrolling through Twitter seeing friends and strangers putting these stories of violence and abuse out in the world harrowing horrible things and all we could do for each other was reply with heart emojis” she says “In a way it just seemed to highlight our powerlessness As the movement evolved the way all this trauma was churned through the Internet Content Machine started to feel perverse” She continues “I ended up feeling rather alienated from #MeToo as a whole — despite it being directly connected to my novel my life’s work — and I used that sense of alienation to fine tune Vanessa’s character and shape the novel’s central conflict” from the EW interviewV is excited as a teen but has clearly been damaged by the relationship as her inability to move on with her life attests Is the narration of any fifteen year old reliable Does the appeal of the new and exciting through young eyes disguise a tawdry case of sexual abuse Is the teenager’s feeling of power anything than a self delusional justification for having gotten into something she really cannot handle an excuse for the powerlessness she ultimately experiences Was her relationship with Strane one of euals ultimately Even after there is a break in their connection it is Vanessa who keeps getting in touch with Strane Is that the behavior of a victim What does the thirty two year old Vanessa see when she looks back Is the older Vanessa a reliable narrator than her younger version Clearly this book is the stuff of book club dreams as there is so much material that is politically contemporary and personally raw It gently mines the considerable literary lode that deals in April December romance In addition the book while keeping the story real and moving steps back from time to time to note real world implications that tend to slip under the radar On the drive home the car lurches over frost heaves and through potholes an endless wall of pitch black woods on either side The radio plays hits from the seventies and eighties Dad tapping the steering wheel along to “My Sharona” while Mom sleeps her head leaning against the window Such a dirty mind I always get it up for the touch of the younger kind I watch his fingers tap to the beat as the chorus comes round again Does he even hear what the song is about what he’s humming along to If you are thinking that My Dark Vanessa constitutes a 21st century Lolita; if you are thinking that My Dark Vanessa is an engaging challenging look at a subject that affects large numbers of women; if you are thinking that My Dark Vanessa is a moving story written by a new novelist but with the literary skill of a veteran; if you are thinking that My Dark Vanessa has already earned a place on the list of best books of 2020; and if you are thinking that My Dark Vanessa pending the release of other outstanding 2020 fiction of course might just possibly be the best novel of 2020 well you are not alone because ya know me too “I never would have done it if you weren’t so willing” he’d said It sounds like delusion What girl would want what he did to me But it’s the truth whether anyone believes it or not Driven toward it driven toward him I was the kind of girl that isn’t supposed to exist one eager to hurl herself into the path of a pedophile But no that word isn’t right never has been It’s a cop out a lie in the way it’s wrong to call me a victim and nothing He was never so simple; neither was I Review posted – June 28 2019Publication date – March 10 2020EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal and Twitter pagesInterviews Library Love Fest Editors Unedited Editor Jessica Williams in Conversation with Author Kate Elizabeth Russell audio 3220 – really good stuff Entertainment Weekly My Dark Vanessa Why this Lolita for the #MeToo era is the season’s biggest selling debut by David Canfield – this one too GR – ‘My Dark Vanessa’ Courts Controversy on the Page and Off with April UmmingerItems of Interest Mountains an excerpt from an early version of the novel Split Lip Magazine The Second One in Five Parts short story by KER KER’s Twitter handle is a sly Nabakovian reference Vulture My Dark Vanessa Was an Oprah’s Book Club Pick Then It Was Abruptly Dropped by Lila Shapiro BuzzFeed March 10 2020 How My Dark Vanessa Became One Of The Biggest Books Of The Year by Anne Helen Petersen Lots of great intel in this one definitely check it outReferenced Literature My Sharona you might want to throw things or wash after watching this with some new appreciation Left Alone by Fiona Apple – ok the song is not specified in the book but Fiona Apple is Birches by Robert Frost – Just what might this be about Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov – public library of India Ditto as a PDF

  6. emma emma says:

    Typically when I finish a book the best case scenario is that I jot down a few notes for the future me who is desperately trying to alchemize fading away thoughts into a review These helpful and compelling insights include phrases like “beautiful writing” “I don’t like the characters” “At first this was hard to get into but then I enjoyed it”You know The kind of bring the house down literary criticisms that have the world’s finest book reviews and newspaper Sunday sections knocking at my doorBut when I finished this one I so badly needed some kind of outlet or catharsis that I sat down and typed and typed and typed I free wrote pages of thoughts and feelings until I felt a little betterMost of that is somehow even less usable than “I Liked This” but still Lately I’ve been shooting for the goal of finishing a book per day whenever possible which is all well and good until I’m suddenly trying to force myself through an incredibly dark and traumatic book in a matter of hours At one point I caught myself scoffing at this story I played the Vanessa to Vanessa the character who doesn’t believe not because of some secret misogyny or doubt or cruelty but because of the story she’d told herself the narrative she’d created in order to better survive“No man is this evil No person is this manipulative” I told myself “Who thinks of all these things”Later in the story Vanessa meets a professor who is kind He cares because she is so smart so funny such a good student He’s a Good Guy And so what if his wife doesn’t come up in conversation when everything else doesI have known so many men like this that it’s crushing I have had so many professors who made me feel special and smart until I realized the inappropriate tinges to their words the idea that it’s not really normal to get late night emails from men who are fifteen years older and have power over you When someone tells you everything about themselves and their life is desperate to unleash the small events of their days the fact that their wife didn’t come up in conversation is deliberate a choiceAnd the fact of the matter is that I know there are men who are that manipulative I don’t want to believe it I want to banish that type of person as a fairytale villain because it is so much easier to live if I can believe myself an eual participant in everything that has ever happened to me And if that comes with a little self hatred so whatThis is a true story And it hurts to read And it hurts to recognize yourself in the pages even in the smallest ways For a very long time I have excused the men in my life for the ways they have hurt me even if those moments lurk behind my eyelids in the minutes I spend trying to fall asleep for years after they happened And I wish I could say “no ” but that would be absurd That takes a journey and this book didn’t take me all the way through it but maybe it helped me take the first stepThis is the story of Lolita from her perspective This is the story of Lolita returning to Dolores Haze She shouldn’t feel like she has to forgive herself but she does and she doesReading Lolita was traumatic and awful for me an experience that up until now I’d have undone if I could but this book helped and healed and made it worthwhile I do not recommend this book unilaterally I recommend this only to anyone who can handle it who needs it who wants it I for example should not have read this at an unsteady time in my life and I’d warn anyone considering doing so away from thatBut I do recommend it That’s my bottom lineAlso I just want to say Anyone who has the guts to accuse someone of plagiarism when they haven’t even read the book they’re assuming was stolen from themmad props I guess took some time to think about this rating and know it's at least 45 or 5 so review and final rating to come but here are all these stars for now Reading this I had to take breaks stop to watch silly videos and look at memes and play Animal Crossing between pages in an attempt to prevent the words from traveling too deep The second I finished I burst into sudden and unexpected tears gone in thirty seconds but still there still felt and surprisingI’m not sure yet if I’m glad I read it review rating to come me anticipated this book for monthsalso me is now scared to read it

  7. Melanie Melanie says:

    Thank you William Morrow for a finished copy This was one of the hardest books I've ever read I hope to be able to write a full review soon but I will say that the ending might feel really heartbreaking and disappointing but that is because we live in a heartbreaking and disappointing reality There is no wrong way to heal and live through horrible things that were done to you and there is no time limit either Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | TwitchContent and Trigger Warnings rape pedophilia gaslighting sexual assault physical abuse grieving child pornography mentionacts talk of suicide suicide fatphobic comments disordered eating brief but very horrible mention at other child abuse things blood depiction and overall this is just a very dark book that will most likely make you very uncomfortable to read so please use caution

  8. Julie Julie says:

    My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell is a 2020 William Morrow publication A powerful novel and one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read Before reading this review be aware I made up my mind about any gray areas concerning consent this novel addresses For me there are no gray areas Fifteen year old girl forty two year old man and a figure of authority Please This is a strongly worded review and may step on some toes I hope you'll stick with me though I understand this book has bothered some people understandably and some are conflicted about it I am not conflicted AT ALL and my review will reflect that You'll need to take your heart off your sleeve if you wish to continue reading By now we’ve all heard the stories and have seen male and female teachers arrested for abusing their positions and embarking on inappropriate relationships with their students I could tell you stories about things that happened way back when I was in high school and things that happened at my children’s high school where teachers crossed lines with their students It is widely reported now almost to the point where it seems commonplaceWhile we often get caught up in the feeling of betrayal we have which is caused by someone we trusted to uphold our values to be a mentor to our kids by setting an example and of course by obeying the law we overlook the long lasting ramifications for those who were seduced often with careful manipulation by these men and women we have entrusted our children to gradually luring in the most vulnerable with their attentiveness and flattery This book explores the psychological damage and the cruel emotional trauma left on one young victim Vanessa Wye who at fifteen was seduced by Jacob Strane a forty two year old teacher at her school These emotional scars never fully healed continuously reopened constantly bleeding and infecting this young woman who simply could not move forward and live up to her full potential nor could she maintain friendships or a normal relationship with another man and simply could not admit to what is so obvious to others Because even if I sometimes use the word abuse to describe certain things that were done to me in someone else's mouth the word turns ugly and absoluteIt swallows me and all the times I wanted it begged for itJacob Strane is vile Period His kind are far too common and often infiltrate places where they have easy access to those they wish to lure into their web of seduction What many fail to understand is that although young people today are far knowledgeable mature much faster and are exposed to erotic images and information daily they put on a brave face never admitting they might not have everything under control They are perhaps much desensitized and jaded seemingly confident and comfortable with the onslaught of information that surrounds them Don’t let them fool you They are as vulnerable sensitive confused and insecure as ever They cope with incredible pressure to conform be accepted and to do things they are emotionally unprepared for They are just as capable of falling under the spell of someone older seemingly sophisticated someone they admire or look up to whose attention is flattering and alluring as innocent generations before them It can be uite heady and intense making it hard for them to fully understand that they are indeed the victim in all this Vanessa who is often paralleled with Lolita or in some cases it might be a juxtaposition falls straight into Jacob’s trap as we helplessly stand by and watch It’s a struggle to see her life spiral out of control and resign herself to a life of dark obsession and living well below her intellectual means The psychological damage Vanessa endures is the reason I gave this book five stars I know the book will be controversial I know it is not for everyone It will generate heaven only knows what kind of reaction once it hits bookstores but I think it is an important examination even if it is a work of fiction It’s a portrayal we should welcome as it proves many points women have been trying to stress for ages Crawling inside the mind of a predator is not easy it’s not supposed to be This book is not one you ‘enjoy’ It’s a book that should make one feel extremely uncomfortable one that makes you suirm in your seat It is supposed to have that type of deep effect on you In fact it took me a very long time to read this novel because I had to take freuent breaks from it When you enter Vanessa’s world you will be transported into a deep dark twisted place and you will long to escape from it But remember there are many many many real life ‘Vanessa’s’ out there They too long to escape from it only for them it’s not a book they can put down at any time and simply walk away from it because it was just too upsetting Overall this book is just downright chilling and left me feeling shaken and very emotional While it is not an easy novel it is one I recommend reading if you can It is very thought provoking and I can see it bringing out some pretty intense discussions for book clubs Vanessa’s portrait is utterly heartbreaking Her view of the situation again too common She put everything on herself and our society continues to enable that feeling of shame and guilt and even goes so far as to threaten and warn off anyone who might think of doing otherwise As others have pointed out this book shows why recent movements like #MeToo resonated with so many people and is another reason why I feel it is a worthy five star bookContent warningShouldn’t need to even say it but if you have certain triggers this is NOT the book for you I’ve written and re written this review many times and have toned down my frustrations knowing my words might offend some But please please please if you suspect a situation is not appropriate under any circumstances with your child sibling friend or colleague don’t hesitate to listen to hear them to intervene or report your concerns to those who have the authority to do so or encourage them to come forward or seek help The details may be upsetting to hear but your courage just might save someone you love from becoming another ‘Vanessa’

  9. Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews says:

    15 starsI wish I could somehow unread this disturbing book My curiosity got the best of me after reading the countless 5 star reviews It wasn’t a storyline that appealed to me but I had to see what all the buzz was about After reading halfway through and feeling like I was missing something I continued on as my curiosity kept pushing me further and had me thinking “this must get better” Unfortunately it didn’t get better after halfway in fact it got worse I finished this novel feeling nauseated upset and frustrated Not because I was so impacted by the storyline and characters I felt nauseated upset and frustrated because I don’t understand a reason for a book like this to be written What is the author trying to convey I am definitely missing something here The ending was a let down There was no sense of hope or purpose There was nothing to feel good about For me the story lacked sensitivity and focused on shock factor The timeline jumped around and lacked flow As much as the plot disgusted me I never felt truly connected to the characters or storyline I felt upset about the situation but no emotional connection to the characters or investment in the storyline I don’t like writing negative reviews I like to focus on the positives but there simply are no positives for me on this one I didn’t enjoy the way this story was presented Please be warned that this is a highly uncomfortable novel that you MUST be prepared forThis was a Traveling Sister read with Brenda and Mary Beth We sit at the outlier table together as all three of us felt similar Thank you to Edelweiss for the review copy

  10. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Year 2000Vanessa 15 years of age grew up in a uiet small town in Maine on Whalesback Lake She attended Browick High School a boarding schoolcouple hours away from her home Too young to drive her mother usually drove her to school and picked her back up to come home during holiday breaks Early in the book I wondered if Vanessa’s mother had serious reasons to worry about her daughter’s basic state of well beingor if the mother was just being a typical mom “make some friends” yada yadaAs a mother I was sure the mother saw red flag signs that her daughter was hurting inside But mom didn’t do anything What could she do“Just make friends” mom tells her daughter One morning Vanessa walked through campus several times trying to calm herself It was early SeptemberMost students noticed the beautiful surroundings the colorful mountains and colorful maple leaves groups of students sat outside together studying laughing socializing Vanessa was ‘feeling restless’ unsatisfied alone and disconnected from other studentsI could feel her anxiety how uncomfortable she felt in her own skin Vanessa couldn’t find a place to put ‘herself’ The library was too dark Her dorm room was too depressingEvery place she walked seemed to be crowded with people studying in groups highlighting how very alone Vanessa felt Vanessa ‘forced’ herself to stop sit down at a grassy slope behind the humanities building to calm herself “Breathe” she tells herself So with ‘already’ being on edge depressed reallyVanessa sits down leans against a tree reaches into her backpack to pull out her spiral notebook to begin working on a poem she’s writingFootsteps were soon approachingMr Strane noticed Vanessa from above looking out his window He came to join her Vanessa was reading a poem that she was working on interesting her poem was about a girl ‘strapped’ on an islandI could feel how critical Vanessa was of her work her writing and of herself Self esteem was at an all time low Mr Strane notices Vanessa’s red rimmed eyes and says “You’re Upset”“Can I ask what’s upsetting you” Vanessa thinks her problems are too big to explainFrustrated Vanessa tells Mr Strane that her poem is bad and that she can’t even pick a study spot without exhausting herselfShe tries to share how dark she feels Mr Strane is intensely listening Vanessa was seriously fearful that she could never fix herself I wanted her to call her mom Maybe with Mr Strane’s help acknowledgment extra attention to her Vanessa could begin to feel stronger and confident Maybe Vanessa’s fixation on Mr Strane Harvard graduate passionate about literature might be a positive mentor for herHawe don’t fool easy At 15 away from home at a boarding school what stood out to me was how painfully alone and vulnerable Vanessa was I wanted somebody to help her really help herAs the reader we are cringing witnessing the rabbit hole Vanessa is about to fall through As painful as it was to know what was coming a disturbing inappropriate entanglement between a 15 year old impressionable girl and a 42 year old teacher A story as old as everI couldn’t pull myself away from this bookThe writing storytelling is seductively addictive and gripping Honestly ‘the best’ call it what you want MeToo novel I’ve ever read I just know this novel gets soooo inside your own skinIn another scene Mr Strane says to VanessaI think we’re very similar Nessa he whispers I can tell from the way you write that you’re a dark romantic like me You like dark things” “Shielded by the desk he reaches down and pats my knee gently gingerly the way you might a dog before you’re sure it won’t turn mean and bite you I don’t bite him I don’t move I don’t even breathe He keeps writing notes on the poem while his other hand strokes my knee and my mind slips out of me” Year 2017Vanessa Wye is 32 years of age She meets Jacob Strane in a coffee shop It’s been five years since the last time she’d seen him Seventeen years since she was his student‘girl thing’ When Vanessa first sees Strane againyears latershe feels the same way she did when she was 15 and he was 42 attraction Throwing her arms around the much older Strane when they catch uphe had that same coffee and chalk dust smell he did when she was his student Jacob Strand was accused of sexually abusing a former student It’s posted all over Facebook At first Vanessa defends Strane She believes that she willingly engaged in a relationship with him Vanessa believed that she and Mr Strane had a ‘special’ relationshipThey still connected with each other by phone well into her adulthood This book is impossible to put down I gave up the outdoors summer daylight hours in exchange for being an addictive daytime reading couch potatoI felt a pull an urgency an importance to marathon read this book I want to scream to other readers “this is sooooooo GOOD a MUST READ”which it is ITS REALLY GOOD and WORTHY of being called a BUZZ BOOKBut ‘really good’ are not really the right words to describe our feelings about the book’s complexitiesThe novel’s achievement is deeply affecting genuinely and significantlyemotionally wrenching yet intellectually rigorous ‘Stephen King’ said this novel is“A well constructed package of dynamite” ABSOLUTELYIs the difference between rape and sex a state of mind You can’t rape the willing right”OrKate Elizabeth Russell’s writing is engrossingfragilebrittlesharpand pulsingThe characters she creates are so hauntingly real When young girls or women love their abuser excuses made for them are outrageous but they’re nothing compared with the excuses made about themselves If this book doesn’t have you looking at sexual abusers vs sexual consent in new ways then I’ll eat my hat Big thanks to HarperCollinsPublishing for an advance copy of this extraordinary novelreleased in January 2020Powerful powerfulpowerful “Out of ashI rise with my red hairAnd I eat men like air” from the book “Ariel” by Sylvia Plath

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