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Kate Elizabeth Russell

Forfatter af My Dark Vanessa

2 Værker 2,683 Medlemmer 142 Anmeldelser

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Includes the name: Kate Elizabeth Russell

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Værker af Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa (2020) 2,680 eksemplarer, 142 anmeldelser
Min mørke Vanessa (2020) 3 eksemplarer

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A reader who's been abused or is particularly vulnerable to the victim blaming and dismissiveness of abuse, should probably steer clear of this book. I think this book does a lot of things right. It very accurately portrays how a victim might dismiss their sexual abuse or 'fall in love with' their abuser. This is a completely valid journey for a survivor to take. However, I will always believe that literature has power and it's intentions/purposes change the MINUTE it is released to the public. Every single reader has a different interpretation and personal experience. Because of this, I thought the book was one-sided in its language about victimhood and abuse. The voices that are meant to oppose Vanessa's thinking are just not loud enough, not impactful. And they were written like that on purpose. What I'm saying is that a reader teetering between "was I abused" or was I not, will read this book and be convinced that what they endured wasn't "enough", that how they reacted to the abuse makes it not abuse at all. The book needs a CONSTANT voice of reason. I thought the therapist or Taylor might have been that. But their voices and their arguments do not stand against Vanessa's delusions about Strane and what she's been through. Again, I think this point of view is done WELL. The writing is good, the dialogue is believable, even the characterization is three dimensional. But I think this book has dangerous rhetoric and logic for the wrong readers. And to the argument that, "well this is how people think in real life", I ask you, if someone said you were not a victim in real life, would you back down, say "valid!"? Harmful logic written down on paper is still harmful logic, no matter what merit the writing itself holds.

And to the argument that says, “well that’s the books purpose! it’s supposed to show an accurate depiction of someone who won’t accept their own victimhood!!!”, i say, “so what?”. A speaker that says “you can’t rape the willing” (because of their trauma) is still saying “you can’t rape the willing”. And that type of language would make more sense if there was an interjection from an outside voice of reason. But again, there was none. We're left with "you can't rape the willing is a horrible joke but IT MAKES SENSE". I mean lord.

I think the moment that solidified my dislike for this book was when Vanessa is masturbating to Strane talking about his new student he will, no doubt, sexually abuse soon. It is completely valid to stay silent on being abused because it is overwhelming and difficult for you. It is not valid to stay silent and not prevent potential abuse to other children. It is even less valid to get off on it. All of this to say, a victim is allowed to not think of themselves as a victim, but to use language that invalidates OTHER women's abuse and experience, is language that must be met with a sensitive, mature audience. I don't even think some adults should read this. I think some of the replies and reviews might show it well. ex. "I remember being 15. I know my 25 year old boyfriend didn't groom me".

While all of this is frustrating, I can't say the writing is bad. I just think it wasn't handled with the upmost sensitivity. Even if an author is abused themselves (which I don't know, don't think its anyones place to ASSUME), that still does not change the impact of harmful language. A survivor can THINK they were not abused, but this book wholeheartedly (and constantly) assures us that our speaker couldn't POSSIBLY have been abused and takes 300 pages to get to any sort positive conclusion. Again, I understand that this is a very true journey many people go through. I understand that some people suffer and dismiss it to cope. But I think our coping methods, if dangerous or harmful, should be kept to ourselves. It's as simple as that, in my opinion.

… (mere)
yosistachrista | 141 andre anmeldelser | Jul 22, 2024 |
4.5 rounded up. This story is tough to read, but it was really well done.

Based on reading reviews ahead of time I thought this story was going to drag at the end, but I was caught up whole way through. A lot of people grew tired at the stuff that happened in college and after, but in my opinion it complicated the narrative in a really interesting way--her denial, her self-destruction, her PTSD, how she feels doomed decades later even as she romanticizes the past. I loved that Vanessa was a deeply flawed character. I'm also glad the narrative jumped around in the timeline--seeing the way present-day Vanessa was still affected by her past made the flashback scenes just that much more horrifying.

This story resisted easy platitudes and the "perfect victim" mold, and was all the better for it. I'll probably never reread it, but I will be thinking about it for a long time.
… (mere)
1 stem
Rachaeljg | 141 andre anmeldelser | Jun 24, 2024 |
i put off reading this book for so long cause i knew it was going to be a tough read for me...i also knew it was a potential 5 stars (or a disappointing DNF).

listening to the superb and lyrical narration made me feel giddy, confused, creeped out, devastated, and heartbroken. i think that more than a story, this was a discussion between/among everyone involved--Vanessa, her parents, her teacher/s, friends, the bystanders, and the reader--and spanned several years. it was also very delicately handled without avoiding the tough questions or sacrificing thoroughness. and for that, i hold this book above Lolita (which I think I have to re-read now).

i listened to the author/narrator interview afterwards. i agree with what they said. love is complicated. abuse/manipulation is also complicated. to that i'd add something i heard of from a long time ago: a lesser evil is still evil.
… (mere)
riida | 141 andre anmeldelser | Apr 26, 2024 |
This is a contemporary retelling of Lolita, from the pov of the schoolgirl. Told in the first person, Vanessa tries to come to terms with the ongoing relationship that she had with her literature teacher, which started when she was 15 years old, and he was 42. Although Vanessa refuses to see herself as a victim, Jacob Strane was clearly a predator. From the moment she introduces herself as "Vanessa from nowhere", he knows she is the one..and outsider... and grooms her relentlessly. He convinces her, using literature and emotional manipulation, that their tragic romance was predestined and inevitable. He tells her he is special, so willing, not like any other woman he's ever known. Years later, as an adult, she laments "it's strange to know that whenever I remember myself at fifteen I'll think of this". She struggles to "see more of the world without him behind my eyes" and asks herself "who is to blame?"
It is a difficult read, but a brilliant look into the mind of a person truly brainwashed into believing that the blame for the transgression of ephebophilia was the fault of an alluring teen, just trying to go to school, not understanding that his experience allowed him to use his words and her emotions to get her permission to abuse her. I had to put it down and ruminate on the disturbing realization that this does happen all to often.
… (mere)
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Chrissylou62 | 141 andre anmeldelser | Apr 11, 2024 |



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