by Elizabeth Scott
Interest Level: UPPER Grades
I read this book more than a month ago, and at the time I decided I would not blog about it because...well...I just couldn't find the words. My emotions were raw and I was afraid that my words would not do the author justice. However, after reading more than a few reviews that I disagree with COMPLETELY, I feel it's my responsibility out of respect for Elizabeth Scott, to try--so bear with me while I attempt to voice emotions for which I honestly don't think there are words.
One particular review I came across said, "What I don't get is the point of this book, other than to shock and disturb. For me, there was no salvation, no redemption, no hope. I think a book targeted for young adults, which deals with such adult material, must offer one of those things. This one doesn't." (http://stateofdenmark2.wordpress.com) Hmmmmm....
My review is a stark contrast to that! What I totally get is the point of this book. Does it shock? Yes. Does it disturb? Absolutely. To me, though, causing the reader to feel shocked and disturbed isn't the point of the book--they are merely the tools the author uses to make us think about things we otherwise would not want to think about. The fact of the matter is, there are situations like Alice's happening every day--sometimes right under society's nose. According to Alice, there are three life lessons: 1. No one will see you. 2. No one will say anything. 3. No one will save you. Several times while reading this book, I asked myself, "What if?" What if someone who knew Alice had said something? What if someone would have followed their instinct that something was just "not right" with the father and his growing-skinnier-by-the-day-daughter? This caused me to reflect on times in my own life where I might have had an inkling about something being "not quite right" yet did nothing. Have there been situations where I could have helped, but instead, turned a blind eye? I'm not saying that everyone has a sadistic pedophile living next door--but...what if?
Does this book offer any type of salvation, redemption or hope? For me, the answer to that is a resounding yes...it may not be wrapped up neatly with a bow--it doesn't leave the reader with a warm-fuzzy feeling of awesomeness at the end--but who says every situation in life is or does? If life can be harsh and mean, why can't a book mirror that? For many of our young adults, life is hard--it is messy, mean, and uncomfortable. Our teens are wiser than many adults give them credit for being.
When asked about how the idea for Living Dead Girl originated, Elizabeth Scott describes a disturbing dream she had. Upon waking, she wrote the details of the dream down, and Alice's story was born. She knew it was a story that she needed to tell, but she was preoccupied with other projects and attempted to put it on the back burner. When she had the same dream consecutively over the next two nights, she knew that the story was demanding to be told. She also describes the writing of LDG--that it was intense--it just came out onto the paper with great speed. For me, reading about the origination of Alice's story, totally made me get the point of the book. It was a story that demanded to be told, period.
Soooooooooooooooooooo, does this book belong on the shelves of a high school library? YES! Is this book for every student? I'll answer that one with my philosophy on matching books and kids: Every book is not perfect for every person, but for every person, there is a perfect book. That's why it is so important to have trained librarians who not only know our books, but also understand how important it is to know our students--that way, we can make the match!
Did I love the book? No--I hated it--but I couldn't put it down, and I read it in a couple of hours. Some things in life are not pleasurable, but they're important--this book is one of those things.