Review – Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott


Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends – her life. She learned to give up all her power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

This is Alice’s story.
It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

Alice is a fifteen year old girl who lives with Ray, her kidnapper, abuser, molester, her Daddy. Alice wasn’t always a starved, beaten and sexually tormented teenager. She was another happier little girl, until the day 5 years ago when Ray kidnapped her during a fun school trip to the aquarium. But that little girl died, and now she goes on as Alice. A living dead girl.

This story is told from Alice’s point of view, and because of this I found myself unable to set this book down. Her story is so completely honest and devastating that it would have felt wrong to interrupt. Alice’s story is so heart-breaking that I became connected emotionally to her. The need for this child to have her say and find some peace was so strong, I thought that if only she could tell her story it would ease the pain of her existence. Surely this is a sign of talented writing, my feeling like I owed a character from a book my full attention or I would be guilty of somehow adding to her pain.

I’d like to say this was an enjoyable book to read, but I can’t. Alice’s pain was too real and Ray’s psychological problems too scary for any enjoyment. However, I do not regret reading Living Dead Girl. There were certain aspects that I felt gave a basic introduction into the circumstances of abuse. Although the highest percentage of abuse happens within a family circle, there are those abused children who, like Ray, grow up to kidnap and abuse strangers. It’s made clear during this story that Ray suffered at the hands of his own mother, making him both a victim and a perpetrator. Touchy subject, but this does happen. Something that has always bothered me is when people say they/their children would never let something like this happen to them, but they won’t know until they are in that situation. With Alice, is was interesting to see how she reacted to the survivors of abuse on the daytime soap operas, even as survivors they are blamed for what they’ve done and she sees this as just another kind of living death. Even worse than living like that, she has Ray’s threats of killing her old family should she try to leave. People could ask, “But why would you believe that? We could have helped.” But why wouldn’t she believe it? In her world Ray is God, she has no power over anything.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Living Dead Girl is Alice’s logic on certain things. She knows that the way her life appears to others, is not normal. Yet she is still baffled by their ease at ignoring what could be happening. When Ray decides that he would like another little girl to come live with them, Alice sees this as an escape for her. She has no doubt that with another Alice around, Ray will have no use for her, but even should he kill her, being away from him is worth it. Her feelings toward having a new girl also show how human instinct and the power of self-preservation can take-over – at one point Alice thinks to herself, “She will get his love and I will hold her down to take it all because then there will be none for me. I cannot save myself, and I do not want to save her.” and “Better her than me.”

As a final note, Living Dead Girl is listed as Young Adult fiction, for ages 16 and up. And even though there were no extremely graphic scenes found, I think that this book should be approached with a certain amount of maturity. Everyone with children will already know that not every teenager is the same. I’m sure that there are some kids (and adults) out there that would be very disturbed by this sensitive subject matter.

About The Author
Elizabeth Scott is the author of Bloom, Perfect You and Stealing Heaven. Something, Maybe, her newest title will be available in March 2009. For an interesting discussion with Elizabeth Scott, SimonSays has a podcast available for download here.

Title: Living Dead Girl
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Book Genre: Young Adult Fiction (16+)
Book Type: Hardcover 176 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: September 2008

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© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Dar said...

I know this one is hard to read but I've had it on my radar to read for a long time. Great review.

Nymeth said...

It also bugs me to hear people say "x or y would never let this happen". If the cycle of abuse was easy to break, it would probably be broken more often. And it's much too easy to dismiss a situation as impossible until you have the misfortune of being in it yourself.

Anyway...excellent review, Joanne.

Lenore said...

Not enjoyable, true. But worth reading, yes.

E. L. Fay said...

Wow, I admire you. I could never read this. I wonder where Ms. Scott found the strength to even write this.

Mo said...

This has been on my TBR list for a long time, but the more I hear about it, the more I think I should take it off the list. Because of events in my past, I'm not sure if I could handle the subject matter. I don't know...

Amy said...

Great review of a very interesting and troublesome book.

naida said...

this sounds very hard to read.
I dont think I could do it.

Great review on such an intense and sad story.

Dan said...

Sensitive subject matter, yes. But does sound like an interesting read.

robin_titan said...

I want to read this book!

Andi said...

I didn't love this one--had some real problems with it, but I loved reading your review. Nicely written!

Anonymous said...

This book is really heartbreaking and it relates to us teens now days. Like some teens get abused and melested and raped everyday and this book describes the struggles they face and could make people aware of what happens everyday. This story could be true and you can't ever put it down. It had a few problems in it but its what teenage girls and younger struggle everyday, anywhere at any time.