Alice was kidnapped on her 10th birthday by a man named Ray. Since then, she has been his little girl, his Alice, for five years. But since she’s getting to old, Ray needs a new Alice.
Why this book?: Surprisingly, my AP Lit teacher asked me to read it, and let me borrow a copy, because she wanted to know my opinion on it.
Living Dead Girl is a very intense book, if you couldn’t tell from the summary, and I can say without a doubt that it won’t be for everyone. There was a lot of abuse, rape, starvation, and fetishization, and that’s not even naming everything. My problems don’t lie with the content, per se, but more with the characters and the plot. Like I said, the book was intense, but everything else just fell flat.
There’s really only four characters that matter at all, and that’s Alice, Lucy (Annabel), Ray, and Jake. Although the story is told in Alice’s point of view, nothing is described past the abuse she suffers and the setting. Not a single character is ever described in Living Dead Girl, so you’re left floundering on what people should look like. Not only that, but basically every character, even the ones not named, were basically caricatures of a single characteristic. Ray was the abusive kidnapper. Alice was the ‘living dead girl’. Lucy was the innocent little girl. Jake was the loser that just wants sex from his girlfriends. There was no depth to the characters at all, I didn’t feel connected to them, and I didn’t care about what was happening to them.
I also have problems with Ray. Ray is the guy who kidnapped Alice when she was 10, but the only explanation as to ‘why’ he does what he does is that he was abused by his mother. Why was he abused? Why did his abuse lead to him kidnapping girls? Ray’s character was very stereotypical for the ‘abusive kidnapper’, and, in some ways, that can be harmful to victims of abuse. Not everyone who is abused will become an abuser. No one is evil ‘just ’cause’. None of Ray’s actions (or Alice’s, for that matter) was ever explained, and I often felt confused as to why she was lying or why Ray was mad. Things just happened, randomly, and without reason.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
I’m a little disappointed. I wasn’t expecting much, but I did expect the characters to have some sort of personality. I also really didn’t like the plot, because Alice’s thoughts were all over the place and I never really got a handle on what the actual plan was. It was interesting, and it was intense, but those are the only things this book has going for it.
ALSO the end is very confusing and disappointing. Not a fan of the end.
Would I Recommend?
Only very hesitantly. Books that are this intense aren’t for everyone, and I had to put it down a few times before I continued reading. Please be careful when reading this book, and to remember that abuse itself does not make a person evil.
Trigger warnings for explicit/heavy abuse (sexual, verbal, physical), explicit sexual assault, kidnapping/abduction, child/little girl fetish [pedophilia], drug abuse, starvation, blackmailing, and violence. (If I missed any please let me know. This book is FULL of triggers.)
Published: January 1st, 2008
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 170
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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 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.