Adam's Reviews > Born Bad: Collected Stories

Born Bad by Andrew Vachss
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's review
Apr 27, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: crime-fiction, fiction, short-stories

I don't question why Andrew Vachss chooses to write about the subjects he writes about--he's devoted nearly his entire life to working with abused children and prosecuting sexual crimes against minors--but that doesn't change the fact that this collection of short stories is almost unbearable. The nonstop litany of sexual violence, molestation, and incest (sometimes even told from the point of view of the assailant) in each of these stories always follows a predictable arc. Horror is piled upon horror, and finally ends with some kind of brief, unsatisfying revenge. Also, the fact that in each of these stories the police and courts are portrayed as ineffectual is particularly depressing considering the fact that Vachss himself is a lawyer. On the plus side, it's refreshing to read crime fiction in which the author actually has an understanding of criminal psychology and causality. Still, I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone I know, and I'm not sure if this collection really does the world any good or if writing these stories was simply a way for Vachss to exorcise some of his demons.
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