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The Girl Next Door

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  14,191 Ratings  ·  1,351 Reviews
Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that in ...more
Paperback, 370 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Leisure Books (first published December 1st 1989)
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Dennis I agree with Colby, not a lot of graphic "blood & gore", just enough so you know what is happening. But it is an unnerving story that will give…moreI agree with Colby, not a lot of graphic "blood & gore", just enough so you know what is happening. But it is an unnerving story that will give you an uneasy feeling....(less)
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Community Reviews

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This is a fictional story based on an actual 1965 killing of a teenage girl in Indiana. The girl, Sylvia Likens and her sister Jenny were put into the care of a single mother by their carnie parents. The woman, Gertrude Baniszewski, several of her children, and some neighborhood children tortured and eventually murdered Sylvia. She was forced to endure unbelievable atrocities like scalding baths, the carving of words into her body with needles, repeated beatings, eating feces, and worse. Ketchum ...more
WARNING: For those of you that still have a tattered, fragmentary scrap of optimism for the inherent goodness of people, this book may well rip it from you and shred your faith in mankind. This book is as disturbing as anything I have ever read. This is mostly because the novel slammed all of my soft/weak spots when it comes to violence, including:

1. Torture;
2. Sadism;
3. Violence against children;
4. Violence committed by children; and
5. Prolonged mental abuse.

…and worst of all, this is based on
Mar 20, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The MOST disturbing book I've ever read. Based on a true story. Chilling, graphic, senseless. Scary. Disgusting. Outraging. Sad. Vomit worthy.

Don't read if that description gives you pause. This book is one for readers of the horror genre or graphic true crime only.

Those were my first thoughts a few hours after reading the book. I was tired from staying up a good part of the night finishing this brutal version of a true life story -- that was completely sad, pointless, and emotionally draining
Dan Schwent
Aug 11, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
When a pretty girl named Meg moves in next door, young Davy is smitten. Soon, however, Meg's aunt Ruth begins mistreating Meg and invites her children to help. Can Davy help Meg escape? Or will he join in her torment?

This is the twentieth book in my Kindle Unlimited Experiment. For the 30 day trial, I'm only reading books that are part of the program and keeping track what the total cost of the books would have been.

This is one brutal damn book. At the beginning, it felt like Stephen King's comi
Oct 08, 2015 Maciek rated it really liked it
The most horrifying thing about Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door is that it is based on a true incident - horrendous abuse, torture and eventual murder of the 16 year old Sylvia Likens in 1965. Sylvia's parents, carnival workers who moved often, left her and her sister in Indianapolis under care of their acquaintaince, Gertrude Baniszewski. Baniszewski was paid to care for the girls, but as the payments were late she began to abuse the young girls, focusing the torrents of her anger on Sylvia. ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Oct 02, 2014 Kelly (and the Book Boar) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
Find all of my reviews at:

Have you ever read a book that you could not (with a clear conscience, at least) recommend to anyone? Ever read something that made you feel like you should turn yourself over to the authorities because only psychotic criminals would be interested in the subject matter you just exposed yourself to? If so, then you've probably already read The Girl Next Door.

When Meg and Susan’s parents die, they are taken in by their aunt rather than
Jul 02, 2012 Char rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, you need to prepare yourself.
Yes, it's going to be disturbing.
Yes, it's going to turn your stomach to knots.
Yes, it's going to make you very, very angry.

I won't go into the plot since several reviews and the book description already do that. I will say that to me, this book reveals the ugliest possible sides of human behavior, the worst being when good people do NOTHING to help.
Even the author is disgusted by what happened, according to his note at the back of the book
Helen Stavraki
May 27, 2016 Helen Stavraki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Κύριε των δυνάμεων!!!
Αποκλείεται να συνέβησαν αυτά τα αποτρόπαια βασανιστήρια σε δυο κοριτσάκια ανήλικα που το μόνο που τα βάραινε ήταν η ορφάνια τους και η γλυκιά αμαρτία της νιότης τους.
Κι όμως μιλάμε δυστυχώς για μια αληθινή ιστορία τρόμου και ψυχασθένειας -σκληρότητας και βασανιστηρίων.

Πολυτάλαντος ή διαταραγμένος σε σημείο πνευματικού οίστρου και δημιουργίας ο συγγραφέας ξεκινά την αφήγηση τοσο όμορφα και ειδυλλιακά με υπέροχες εικόνες καλοκαιρινής ξενοιασιάς σε κάποιο προαστειο της Αμερι
Paul Bryant
Jun 21, 2011 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Here's another long lingering gaze upon our inhuman humanity for everyone who is still labouring under the delusion that there might be a tiny shred, maybe just a single thread, something, anything, of common decency to be found in the vast majority of ordinary people. Jack Ketchum's here to tell you - sorry. There's not.

This novel is based on a real crime which took place in 1965. JK relocates it to 1958 and, creepily, as if this tale needs more creep, which it doesn't, to his home town - to h
Jan 05, 2009 Keith rated it did not like it
In reviewing "American Psycho," all the other reviews from folks who said they wished the book did not exist struck a chord within me. AP never affected me that strongly, but I knew there was a book I felt that way about...oh yes!!! GIRL NEXT DOOR.

I wish this book did not exist. I wish all the people associated with its publishing had never been born. I almost considered ending my friendship with the guy who lent it to me just because I did not want to know a person who owned it, and that guy ha
Amber Rose
Apr 28, 2016 Amber Rose rated it it was amazing
This is the hardest book for me to rate.

I want to rate it a 5 star because it was greatly written. I want to give it 5 stars because I couldn't stop reading. I did have to put it down once, and step away from it. It almost became too much for me. I knew what I was getting my self into before I even downloaded this on my Kindle. It is based on a true story. I read about the story on line and knew how it ended. If you are looking for a happy ever after with this book your not going to get it. I
Jack Jordan
This is the most fucked up, heartbreaking, traumatising book that I have ever read.

It's four in the morning. I had meant to read a few chapters before going to sleep. Instead, I stayed up all night and finished the book.

It's impossible to like this book because of how disturbing it is, yet it is equally impossible to put down because you have to see how it ends.

The fact that this book is based on true events is the most traumatising - yes, traumatising - factor of all.

Jack Ketchum writes ver
Παναγιώτης Δεληγιάννης
Οταν ξεκινας να διαβαζεις Κετσαμ ξερεις τι εχεις να αντιμετωπισεις.

Ο Κετσαμ ειναι αυτο που ελεγε ο Βλαδιμηρος Κυριακιδης στις Βαρβαροτητες: Αρρωστια.

Η καθε του λεξη μια σουβλια με πυρωμενο σιδερο στα πλευρα.
Ωμος και συντομος.
Δεν χρειαζεται πολλες λεξεις για να σε σοκαρει.
Ο καθε χαρακτηρας του ειναι ολοκληρωμενος.

Το κοριτσι της διπλανης πορτας ειναι το τεταρτο βιβλιο του που διαβαζω.
Ριγησα, εκλαψα, φοβηθηκα, μισησα, ενιωσα οικτο.
Ενας πρωτογονος τρομος για το πολιτισμενο τερας που λεγεται ανθρ
So, I sit here wondering... What is it that makes one devour a book like The Girl Next Door? Because, I have to say, I didn't just read it. I had to work hard to get my eyes off its pages. So, given that it is by no means pleasant but on the contrary disturbing as hell, not because it's scary or gruesome in a splatter-y kind of way, but due to its very subject which is totally real and possible, what sort of perversion was it that kept me hooked on it? Just before I reached the middle was when I ...more
Mark Matthews
Aug 14, 2014 Mark Matthews rated it it was amazing
Maybe the hardest book I ever read. Tough to finish. I wanted something traditional to come rescue me, something heroic, like a vampire or ax murder or even a cannibal. I needed that to take away the pain of the reality. But, no, you won't find that here. You'll find a narrator who is just like you as an adolescent, and who eventually takes part in heinous abuse, facilitated by an adult, and the worst of humans is portrayed in stunning reality. This is what people slip to. People like your neigh ...more
Scarlet Cameo
May 22, 2016 Scarlet Cameo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rc-16
Lectura con el grupo 221 b Baker street

"Pensé en lo facil que era herir a una persona. No tenía por qué ser algo físico. Lo único que tenías que hacer era darle un buen golpe a algo que le importase."

Esta es la clase de historias que, una vez las terminas, van a acompañarte durante algún tiempo. Es difícil, más bien imposible, racionalizar lo que sucede y entender a aquellos que los realizan. Es brutal la sensación que te deja conforme lo vas leyendo y es imposible mantenerte indiferente, de h
Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Rating this book is one of the most difficult ratings I've done. On one hand, this is an extremely well written book. The characters feel real, you care about the ones you are supposed to care about, and genuinely loath those you aren't. The scenes are set well and it is very clear as to what is happening. Your mind will have no trouble picturing exactly what is transpiring, and that is precisely why this book is so hard to rate.

You don't want to picture what transpires in this book. You don't
Αυτό το βιβλίο θέλει γερό στομάχι κυριολεκτικά . Οι σκηνές που περιγράφει είναι εξωφρενικές , αηδιαστικές , σκληρές και απάνθρωπες . Είναι φορές που έπιανα τον εαυτό μου να λέει "φτάνει , το παρατάω εδω ! " . Αλλά δεν άντεχα στην ιδέα να μη μάθω πως τελειώνει το μαρτύριο της Μεγκ .

Πάντα με τρομάζει περισσότερο στα βιβλία όταν τα τέρατα είναι οι άνθρωποι και όχι κάποια υπερφυσικά πλάσματα . Και στη συγκεκριμένη ιστορία σε τρομάζει περισσότερο ότι ο συγγραφέας πήρε την ιδέα απο πραγματικά γεγονότα
Feb 29, 2016 José rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror-read
Reseña en español en el blog: click aquí.

So, I'm trying to catch up with all the pending reviews I have left and now it's this book's turn... which is really bad because this is one of those books that stays with you after a long time; just remembering how gruesome and awful this story was, makes my skin crawl.

It's not a book for everyone, so I suggest that if you're not into horror novels (and even if you do like them) you should probably avoid reading this book because it's shocking to say the
Oct 24, 2014 Zoeytron rated it really liked it
The Game. It started off innocently enough, kid stuff. It rapidly segued into something else altogether when Mama, with her empty glittering eyes, joined in. This is as disturbing as anything you ever want to read.
I spent a while debating whether to give this book 4 or 5 stars but eventually I realised that all the reasons I wanted to give it 4 stars were why it deserved 5. The book made me feel disturbed, angry, frustrated, depressed, nervous, stressed, horrified, and the fact that it managed to achieve all of this is proof of how well written this book is and what a fantastic job the author did of actually provoking these emotions and responses to the book. The story itself is horrible but so is the tru ...more
Jun 20, 2007 Peter rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: eh... no one. Ted Bundy, maybe?
Why is it always so hard to admit that I like Stephen King? (You see that? Right there! Even then, when I did kind of admit it, I made sure to censor myself, and under-exaggerate how I really feel...)

All right, fine. I love Stephen King. And I promise to spare you any rantings and ravings about how I think he's one of the most underrated writers of our time (nevermind that he's the bestselling novelist in the world), because this is not his book. I'll save it for "The Stand" or "Lisey's Story."
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
This book will stay with you for the rest of your life..not really in a good way. Unbelievable what a "so called" normal group of people can do.
Wayne Barrett
Jan 13, 2016 Wayne Barrett rated it it was amazing
I gave this book a 5 star rating, but I can't bring myself to recommend it. Although, I know that just because I say this there may be some who now have to check it out because of curiosity. Like passing an accident that you can tell is going to be horrible and telling yourself not to look but doing just that at the last second.
This is Annie Wilkes from Stephen King's 'Misery' meets the boys from 'Lord of the Flys'. Only, this story is much more terrifying because it's plot is based on a true e
Bark's Book Nonsense
Feb 11, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
This is a disturbing book and a difficult one to read if you know beforehand how it ends (and it's pretty easy to figure out the outcome from the narrator's early comments).

Knowing so much about this book before I picked it up (I read about the real life case it is based upon on, I figured I'd be able to handle the content but it was so unrelentingly brutal near the end that I had to put it down and watch a silly movie (The 40 Year Old Virgin, if you must know) to help me tempo
May 26, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing
A shocking story of abuse at the hands of an evil mother.
What was once a harmless game of fun that a group of friends played in a neighborhood turned into a game of torture and abuse.
Executed by the hands of kids ranging 7 to 13 and one wicked woman.
There was one boy who did not want to take part and tried to dissociate from what he was seeing.
The boy also fell in love with one of the girls, who was the person who was receiving the brunt of the violence.
She arrived in the neighborhood just r
Ένα μεγαλιώδες "what the fuck?" θα μπορούσε να είναι η κριτική και να είναι και ολοκληρωμένη.
Είναι από τις περιπτώσεις που λες ότι μάλλον είμαι διαταραγμένος για να συνεχίζω να διαβάζω αυτό το βιβλίο. Ο Ketchum σίγουρα είναι πάντως. Είναι όπως γίνεται με τις σειρές του Κοκκινόπουλου. Δημιουργούν μια ασχολίαστη δυσφορία αλλά συνεχίζεις να τις βλέπεις. Γιατί; Γιατί θες να ελπίζεις ότι αυτά γίνονται στη διπλανή πόρτα και όχι στη δική σου πόρτα. Γιατί ξέρεις ότι υπάρχουν στο κόσμο τέτοιες διαστροφές
Wendy Darling
I've read many accounts of crimes that are as horrible as (and sometimes even more horrible than) the terrible things that happen in this book, both in terms of real-life non-fiction crimes and in visceral thrillers. The voyeuristic, no-accountability POV in which this story was presented, however, relegates it to nothing more than straight out, uninspired shlock horror. Even then, the most gruesome parts are skated over and related in such a no-frills way that the book doesn't even succeed in b ...more
Jun 06, 2016 Vaso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Μετά απο αυτό που διάβασα, δεν μπορω να μιλήσω... Το γεγονός ότι το βιβλίο ειναι βασισμένο σε πραγματικά γεγονότα, με ξεπερνάει.. Πόσο αρρωστημένο μπορεί να ειναι το μυαλό ενός ανθρώπου; Η γραφή του Jack Ketchum ειναι λιτή και ωμή· σε ρίχνει στα βαθιά και σου λέει "κολύμπα".
Aug 02, 2007 Thomas rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This is one of the leanest, nastiest books I've ever read. I consume a good deal of horror fiction, but this one really took some fortitude to get through certain sequences. It tells a fictionalized account of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens. Here's something from the wikipedia entry on the case:

Sylvia Marie Likens (January 3, 1949 - October 26, 1965) was tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski (née Van Fossan), her children, and other children from their neighborhood. Her parents, car
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221 b Baker street: Libro de Febrero 2016 26 24 Feb 11, 2016 07:03AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please ad page total 4 15 Oct 18, 2015 04:27AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum 2 18 Aug 28, 2015 02:09AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum 1 21 May 12, 2015 01:51AM  
more sad and disturbing? girl next door or flowers in the attic? 7 94 Jan 26, 2015 01:00PM  
Consensus: Most disturbing book ever? 53 506 Jan 12, 2015 05:14AM  
The Goodreads Dar...: The Girl Next Door - Jack Ketchum 3 22 May 22, 2012 04:46PM  
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Jack Ketchum is the pseudonym for a former actor, singer, teacher, literary agent, lumber salesman, and soda jerk -- a former flower child and baby boomer who figures that in 1956 Elvis, dinosaurs and horror probably saved his life. His first novel, Off Season, prompted the Village Voice to publicly scold its publisher in print for publishing violent pornography. He personally disagrees but is per ...more
More about Jack Ketchum...

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“As though all the world were a bad joke and she was the only one around who knew the punchline.” 28 likes
“I lay in bed and thought about how easy it was to hurt a person. It didn't have to be physical. All you had to do was take a good hard kick at something they cared about.” 13 likes
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