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Kate Elizabeth Russell

Autor(a) de My Dark Vanessa

2 Works 2,606 Membros 140 Críticas

About the Author

Includes the name: Kate Elizabeth Russell

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Obras por Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa (2020) 2,604 exemplares
Min mørke Vanessa (2020) 2 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento



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.
… (mais)
riida | 139 outras críticas | 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.
… (mais)
1 vote
Chrissylou62 | 139 outras críticas | Apr 11, 2024 |
A heart-breaking, haunting, exceptional novel. As one of the most poignant and memorable books of the 21st century, this gnawing response to Nabokov's Lolita gives readers another perspective of the ugly reality of child sexual abuse. Vanessa does not believer herself to be a victim, a survivor, or a hero. She can only cling to what her life is as defined by her high school English teacher. This book is hard to read. It's hard, it's sad, it's revolting at times. But it is real. The un-reality that Vanessa is so desperate to keep is our reality, it is, no matter how badly you want her to understand, her reality.
To say that her epiphany at the end of the book feels like taking a hit straight to the heart is an understatement. The work that Russell has put in to get us to this ultimate moment of catharsis is indescribably overwhelming.

Do NOT read this book if you will be triggered by the subject matter. It is explicit and painful, and it is never-ending. It is unrelenting, and if you think you will be triggered by this book then do not read it. If you think this will help you in any way, and I am sympathetic to the belief that this content is helpful for people with trauma, I urge you to be fully aware of your body and mind, ask yourself if you feel ready, and put the book down if you do not wish to continue. To anyone reading this, I wish you well post-reading, or pre-reading if you're reading through reviews to decide if this is for you.
… (mais)
gojosatoru98 | 139 outras críticas | Mar 1, 2024 |
[Trigger warning]
With more and more survivors coming forward with experiences like Vanessa's, this story is an unsettling but important read for those who can stomach the subject matter. The author's unveiled a layer of complexity that allowed this story to make a long lasting impact on the way I think about abusive relationships, sexual consent and protecting children and/or survivors.

What was good:
- The slow and steady progression of Vanessa's relationship with her abuser, Strane, communicated how insidious his grooming efforts were. This man was nothing if not patient. His character struck a perfect balance of condescending (without being blatantly cruel) but affectionate and validating enough to keep kid Vanessa (who is friendless, what a coincidence) coming back for more. This was so profound that adult Vanessa's self-image continues to revolve around how this man saw her at 15. The way these exchanges were portrayed showed how easy it is for anyone, teenage or otherwise, to fall into the clutches of one of these people.
- Stane's impact on adult Vanessa's psyche and behaviour. Throughout the story, she excuses his actions by reassuring herself (and others) that what had happened was not was as it seemed and that she had been a willing party. And that she was just one of those teenagers just matured faster. Or that he was the only person to see how extraordinary she was. As nauseating as these thoughts were to read, it made it so much clearer how ruinous and significant Strane's abuse continues to have on adult Vanessa. She would rather sooner continue a lifelong devotion to the man who ruined her life and romanticize their relationship because she couldn't bear to come to terms with the effect he had had on her entire life. When that rationalization became clear, I was devastated. Because of course - accepting a less excruciating truth may be something everyone does to one degree or another.
… (mais)
ratatatatatat | 139 outras críticas | Feb 21, 2024 |



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