Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Deeply disturbing, Living Dead Girl was a novel I couldn’t put down. It’s a quick read—under two hours, but the impact lasts (and maybe the bad dreams do, too).
‘Alice’ is a girl who was abducted at age ten while on a class field trip to an aquarium. She is now fifteen, still living with her abductor, and looking back over events of their five years together. Although there is no explicit description, Alice is clearly sexually abused on a regular basis. Her abductor, Ray, likes little girls, and attempts to keep her very young looking through waxing and limited food intake as well as drugs that hold off puberty.
However, Alice is growing and Ray is tired of her. He tells Alice he wants her help inducting a new little girl into his warped world, where the child will be beaten into mind control (brain washing) and forced to obey Ray’s every command, just as Alice was. Alice hopes that having another girl will give her a break from the constant abuse. But she then realizes that Ray intends to kill her and dispose of her body once the new girl is captured.
From what I’ve read of real abductions, such as that of Elizabeth Smart, the details of this novel ring true. One of the most difficult parts of the book is how no one in ‘Alice’s’ world recognizes that she is being held hostage. They believe that Ray is her father and home teaching her although he goes to work and locks her in the house. She is unkempt, even dirty. She is too young to have all that waxing without parental permission, but the salon owner never asks for it and doesn’t wonder why she is there.
The thought that we don’t really see things that happen around us (as is true in the last book I reviewed, The Rules of Survival) is as disturbing as the horrific situation of these kids. Maybe reading these novels will help us to be more aware.