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Book Review: Living Dead Girl

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Title: Living Dead Girl
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 170
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository
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.

Don’t read this book if you’re scared of rapists and kidnappers. Don’t read this book if you have a heart problem. Don’t read this book if you’re a young, innocent girl, from ONCE UPON A TIME. This book is why I will never question guns being legal in America ever again. Sometimes, you need them. Jake did, anyway.

A last piece of advice: never—ever—try reading Living Dead Girl until 2am in the morning.

The first chapter of Living Dead Girl threw me into confusion. It’s in second person, which made me wonder what I was supposed to be figuring out. Then it jumped to first person, with Alice telling the story. I put two and two together to get six a lot of times before I figured the girl in the first chapter was Alice, “I,” in the second one.

The way Elizabeth Scott bounces from the present to the past confused me at times. But after a few chapters of it, I became used to the jumps and it’s a very clever way of showing the past without too much back-story info-dumps. I especially liked how she used “ONCE UPON A TIME.” In all-caps, it gives off this haunting, reminiscent feel that, at the same time, feels very “in your face,” which is something atypical of reminiscent scenes.

I loved the chapters where there were single lines or single paragraphs. Those scenes—though simple—stood out in my mind, and they’re really, really powerful.

Ray was a really well written character. He had a past that made him the way he is, and in some sick, twisted way, the way his actions link back to how his mother treated him makes sense. He has a smile for everybody else and a true smile with his gums showing. Perhaps he’s not a very likable character—I know I definitely hated him—but nevertheless, he’s a very good character. The way Alice describes him is so real, so full of emotion, it’s like Ray is right there, breathing down your neck.

On the other hand, there’s Alice. I didn’t like her a lot. But I could empathise with her story. Everything about her was so centered around Ray that her characterisation became Ray’s as well. Because I didn’t like Ray, I didn’t like Alice all that much either. I loved her voice though, just not her character. I felt sorry for her, but I didn’t love her to bits like I do some main characters.

I did like Jake though. That may be because he was the only one that was some semblance of “normal.” He was actually a normal teen boy, who was nervous when he talked to a girl, who said silly love struck things that he couldn’t achieve. His normalcy was what, for me, balanced this book out. His sister though, I didn’t like as much. She came across to me as a brat who thought she was grown up.

I found the ending quite disappointing. I expected something a bit more conclusive. It left me hanging on the edge, wondering if there was more to be desired. True, it was a dramatic all-caps ending that stayed with me, but it didn’t tell me much. And this lack of detail and a definite end left me itching—literally, or maybe I should attribute the itchiness to the large amount of mosquito bites I got recently.

Hikari, still a little girl from ONCE UPON A TIME, shivered after reading this book, for all the Alice’s and Annabel’s out there.

ONCE UPON A TIME, Hikari read Living Dead Girl. And not-so-ONCE UPON A TIME, Hikari recommends this book to you. If you can stand heavy content, that is. If not... I'd say go read something happy.

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