Melissa 's Reviews > Living Dead Girl

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
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's review
Dec 08, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: with-reviews
Recommended for: I'm not sure I could recommend it
Read in December, 2008 , read count: 1

I can recognize quality writing when I see it and I have to admit that while I did not like or enjoy (if that is even possible) this book it is well written. This review is not a criticism of the author's writing, she is an excellent writer.

I am usually pretty liberal when it comes to teen books I understand that teen books are often on the cutting edge and pushing the boundaries of comfort for their readers to introduce them to the world we live in.

The reasons for which I gave this book only one star are many. On a personal level this book was very disturbing. I read it because it was recommended to me and people I respect believe that it will be a canidate for the awards. I do believe giving it an award would be a mistake. When we give a book an award it is the same as saying this is a great book and I recommend that you read this book. I am concerned that this book is not appropriate for the intended audience. I can not see recommending this book to any teenager--their parents would have my head if I were to do so. One of the reviews I read for this book described it as "vivid not graphic." I have to differ with this opinion. I found the book to be too graphic.

Cautions to readers: Abuse of several kinds take place in this book, verbal, physical, and sexual. Very graphic and distubing.
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Reading Progress

12/08/2008 page 70
41.18% "Maybe I am being closeminded, but I don't think this book is appropriate for our teens. It is truly disturbing." 5 comments
12/09/2008 page 146
85.88% "still disturbing"
09/27/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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Melissa Meredith wrote: "This seems like a story that would give me nightmares."

I can say that at times I felt contaminated just by reading it. Some things in the book were so disturbing I had trouble getting them out of my head. Very rarely does a book leave that kind of impression on me, but this one did.

Melissa Abbie wrote: "I beg to differ with you, my friend. For I myself am a teenager, and have read this book. It was quite disturbing, to say the least...although the word "disturbing" might be an understatement. This..."

After having some time to reflect on this book, and it has occupied my mind considerably, I realize that there are people this book will appeal to. I am not one of them, but I can respect that some people liked this book a lot. It is obvious if you look at number of 5 star ratings this book received. The author is a fabulous writer, but I personally didn't like the book, and would have a very difficult time recommending it to others. I am glad you enjoyed the book, but it isn't my thing. The book features a very difficult issue, and yes it is out there, but I guess, as a mother of a young child, I don't want to think about it. I think this book stirs too many reactions, and I don't want to feel it the way the book makes you feel like you are a part of the abuse. I am not sure that last sentence makes much sense, but it is difficult to explain my feelings about this book.

message 3: by Robin (last edited Jan 12, 2009 08:56AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Robin Melissa, I am with you. I know this book was very well written and I, too, have a high tolerance for "icky" books with revolting and evil characters, but I had tough time finishing this. I will also add that I am usually the first one to try anything that is "banned" or controversial but the only way I would recommend this book to teens (and I have to occasionally do that as part of my job) would be if an older teen wanted something similar to A Child Called It, but even that book has a fairly decent ending.

Carrie I agree that this book is too much for most teens. I wanted to take a shower when I was done; I felt dirty, like I had seen something I shouldn't have. I would not recommend this book to anyone, but it is well written. As I always told the kids checking out books about their bodies and puberty, "tell your mom you are reading this." I know, wishful thinking. It pays to know what your kids are reading...

Melissa Carrie wrote: "I agree that this book is too much for most teens. I wanted to take a shower when I was done; I felt dirty, like I had seen something I shouldn't have. I would not recommend this book to anyone, ..."

I know what you mean about feeling dirty--this book makes you feel more voyeuristic than most. I couldn't even bring myself to tell my family about what I was reading, and usually we talk about that all of the time.

message 6: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela The fact that people have such reactions to a piece of literature is an indication that it's a good book. The author did her job, and quite well.

message 7: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela ie, "the author did her job."

It's one thing if it was poorly written and didn't convey anything. But any book that stays with you, and stirs an emotion (positive or negative), is classifiable as "good."

Melissa I agree that it was well written, because it has stayed with me. I still have a reaction when I see the cover of the book. Definitely not a book I will forget any time soon.

Melissa I see what you mean, but this book has a quality about it that you wouldn't find from any old hack and slash. To me Saw and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are forgettable fiction. The writing in this book was so elegantly haunting, that you can't dismiss it the way you would "hack and slash." The life she portrays in her book feels real, the events she describes seem real, and the pain of the character is palpable. More importantly, you know that while this book may be fiction, there is an Alice out there somewhere living through a real horror similar to this one. It leaves the reader feeling raw, like you were as much a victim as Alice.

Shaya I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless I knew they enjoyed books like a Child Called It.

I think it's even more horrific and disturbing because it is real. Unlike a fantasy book, you can't dismiss it as "not in this world".

There are some books that you should read to be aware of horrific things that have happened or are happening. I would put Holocaust books or war books in that category. I guess the line to draw is how important it is for you to be aware that this exists and know about it in great detail. Reading about homelessness and hunger would be important to me because it's so widespread. But you also need to balance how much it hurts you to read about such horrific events.

Melissa I agree, but I can't get over how popular this book has become since we got it. It is almost always on hold and has been out many times this year. I wouldn't recommend it either, unless, like you said, it was for someone looking for books like Child Called It. On the otherhand, since it is so popular here, it doesn't look like I need recommend it to get it to circulate. Easier on me that way--not as many ethical issues.

Jessup Melissa, I completely agree with you. I am an English teacher, and this book is being featured in my school library as part of their "Teen Read Week" promotion. I am trying to read as many new YA books as I can, and I am currently in the middle of Living Dead Girl. I don't know if I can finish it! It is incredibly disturbing, haunting, and sickening. I'm positive that is the reaction that the author intended readers to have, considering the subject matter. I don't think your reaction is "close-minded" - on the contrary, it is the reaction of a human being with a heart!

Melissa I am glad you liked the review. I will say though, that perhaps the author was trying to make us understand the mind of such a victim. From the outside people may say--"Why didn't you run away?" The narrator was afraid that her kidnapper would go back and hurt her family--he showed her pictures of them and newspaper clippings and used those threats to keep her in line. If I remember correctly there was even a scene in the book that kind of explains this when the narrator is watching a Montel Williams like show and they were attacking the victim for not leaving the situation. (I could be wrong, it has been a very long time since I read this.) I guess that the point the author is trying to make is that the victims have reasons for choosing to remain victims and those reasons may be more complicated than anyone outside of the abuse can know. Still since things like this are so real in our lives, it is disturbing to see it in fiction, and definately not the type of fiction I would choose to read.

Delta67 Just because it is disturbing, and by God and all that is holy, it is, but it's really a window of philosophy and psychology into a mind of a girl who has been through some traumas, and I enjoyed it thoroughly...

message 15: by Guin (new)

Guin Well, the book is painful to read. I certainly didn't enjoy it. But... it's ultimately a story about a young girl rising over incredible brutality with a spark of spirit, strength and compassion. And it's an important book, for illuminating the psychology and plight of young girls who are suffering in the real world.

Not a book I'd ever re-read, but I don't understand people questioning the point of it. I think that's pretty clear.

Kaitlyn Yes, it is graphic and disturbing, but that's part of what makes it such a wonderful, gripping read. I think people SHOULD be encouraged to read a book like this. Yes, you found it disturbing, Of COURSE you did, if you hadn't there would be something wrong with you, but censoring ourselves to this kind of thing is part of what this book is trying to fight. And I would say it was more vivid than graphic, since very little description goes on about what he does to her in a "and then we had sex and it went like this, this and this" kind of way, it was more her feelings around it. Vivid, disturbing, but not overtly graphic.

Delta67 The point of it all is to get into someone else's head, which is really what books are about, either that or learning, the messed up psychology is what makes me enjoy this book, I understand others more and gain more knowledge through that understanding.

Andrea K.I. wrote: "I still don't know what the POINT is. What is it supposed to incite us to do? Protest? Write laws? Make people better parents? If there isn't a clear political agenda, then to me it's gratuitous, a..."

I think the point of this book is to further expose that this actually happens in the world... there are many cases when this situation is right in front of someone, and people just never do anything about it. I mean, I know, what exactly should we do when we see a teenager that just doesn't "look right?" I know it's not easy to point this out, but the perfect example for my point would be Jaycee Lee Dugard.

Sarah Life isn't all flowers and happiness. If we can't have books remind us of that, then we have to learn through experience. No thank you.

Kaitlyn Andrea wrote: "K.I. wrote: "I still don't know what the POINT is. What is it supposed to incite us to do? Protest? Write laws? Make people better parents? If there isn't a clear political agenda, then to me it's ..."

I agree, the "point" is that sometimes people need to be woken up to the things that are happening around them, that's even something the author includes in the novel in several places. The points is to get you to think about it. I don't find this gratuitous, I found it informative, creative, interesting and disturbing.

Kaitlyn And who are all of you to decide what teens should or shouldn't read? Teens should be warned of the explicit content in this book (although it's not terribly explicit content in a lot of ways, particularly the terminology used) but they should be allowed to choose what they think they're ready to read. Believe it or not, teenagers are actually human beings and should get to decide this stuff for themselves. Half of the people commenting on this book in a positive light have been teenagers.

Melissa I want to make one thing clear. I did purchase this book for my library's teen collection--multiple copies in fact. I am not saying that teens should or shouldn't read this book--what they read is between them and their parents. I simply said that I would not recommend the book.

If teens come into my library requesting this book or books of this type, I will locate it for them and hand it to them. Just because I don't personally want to recommend it to people does not mean that I think teens shouldn’t read it--that is up to them.

If I think this is the type of story they are looking for, I will give it to them. But recommending this book to people, saying that I loved it, and that it was wonderful, would make a liar out of me. This book, just like any other, has an intended audience, I wasn't the right audience for this book, and many of the teens I see every day at the library are not looking for this type of book--they are looking for specific types of books, romance, vampires, werewolves, fantasies--recommending this book to them would be a disservice to them, and might keep them from asking me for recommendations in the future. I recommend books tailored to what the teens that come to me want—my first question is what do you like. There are some books you can recommend to anyone; this is not one of them.

Just like I do not book talk books I didn't enjoy, I do not usually recommend books to people that I didn't like—I have found that I am not very convincing when I try. If someone asks me if I liked the book, I believe I should answer honestly—I won’t lie to people, but I will tell them to give it a try if it interests them.

I didn’t like this book. It isn’t the book’s fault, or the author’s. It isn’t the fault of all the fans who loved the book. The book just wasn’t for me. There are many books that I don’t like. Aren’t I allowed to not like a book? Why should I have to recommend something I don’t like? I disliked reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness—why should I go around recommending that people read it. Or any other book that I disliked for that matter.

I am not stopping people from finding it; I am not stopping people from reading it. Why should I be obligated to go out of my way to recommend something I don’t like?

I am not saying who should or shouldn’t read this book. I am saying it wasn’t for me and I am not going out of my way to recommend it. When someone (teen, adult, or dancing bear) comes in looking for this type of book I will hand it to them--until then I will keep it on my shelves for anyone to access.

Ðɑηηɑ How could you possible say that? The writing was the only thing I really suffered from in this book. Seriously one of the worst writings ever, in my opinion. It has so many grammar mistakes, no commas or dots (,.) and just a blur of stupid thought of an ignorable girl who really tried to make her life sound oh-so horrible when she doesn't show it?

dominiyann ♣Ðanna wrote: "and just a blur of stupid thought of an ignorable girl who really tried to make her life sound oh-so horrible when she doesn't show it?"

mmmm, natrually, because after all it isn't horrifying enough that this girl has been kidnapped and all kinds of abused. the author should really work harder on showing the thicker skinned people like you who need indepth descriptions on that kind of thing how awful her situation is.

anyway, sarcasm aside, melissa, despite my rating i completely agreed with your review. i enjoyed this book, but wouldn't really recommend it to anyone and it really did disturb me to the point where i was so close to just putting it down halfway and making a mental one star rating of it.

Melissa dominiyann wrote: "♣Ðanna wrote: "and just a blur of stupid thought of an ignorable girl who really tried to make her life sound oh-so horrible when she doesn't show it?"

mmmm, natrually, because after all it isn't ..."


message 26: by Cassie ♥ (new)

Cassie ♥ I'm very glad that you are my teenage daughter's librarian. If this review isn't evidence then I don't know what is.

Melissa Thanks Cassie!

message 28: by Smoking (new) - added it

Smoking Squirrel It's not graphic though. It says just enough to leave it to your imagination and that is what makes it horrifying.

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