Patrick's Reviews > The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
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Jul 18, 08

bookshelves: 2008
Recommended to Patrick by: Stephen King
Read in July, 2008

Finally something that lives up to the hype! This book has a reputation as being one of the most disturbing things ever and did not disappoint. Ketchum begins by expertly crafting the idyllic world of 1950's suburbia as seen through the eyes of the white, preteen boy. All of the horrific scenes throughout the book only have their impact because of how authentic of a world he creates initially, the way young boys think, talk, and act. The story is about two sisters who lose their parents in a car accident, come to stay with their aunt and her three sons, and the boys' friend and next-door-neighbor, who witnesses the abuse of the older girl throughout the summer. There was one incident where the foreshadowing caused me to have to put the book down for a few minutes, because I knew something really bad was going to happen, and this was after a chore-list of reprehensible acts (I watch a lot of horror movies and thought I had pretty much seen it all). I was describing the book to someone, and her response was something about how the author must be insane and in need of psychiatric help to come up with something so vile, so I did a little research and found the book to have been based on a true crime (see: Sylvia Likens), and Ketchum's reason for writing it was because the story made him angry and he wanted to give the victim a heroic voice. It's hard for some people to accept that someone like Stephen King is just a small-town family man, not a satanic baby-eater. Too bad they can't see the merit in something that makes them uneasy or upset, and think anyone who does find artistic value in a book like this must be a sadist or a pervert (which actually is the case for me). They also dismiss certain movies they haven't actually watched as "torture porn," failing to understand the political satire in "Hostel" or the captivating mystery of the first "Saw." (Diablo Cody called for an end to "penguin porn" at the movies in a recent Entertainment Weekly column, and I think that's a much bigger problem facing America.) Anyways, The Girl Next Door will blow your mind if you let it.
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