Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review of The Girl Next Door

Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark, damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons and finally the entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, torturous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make. (

This novel had been lying on my shelf for a long time. If you've read some of my other reviews you know that since I have a daughter I'm especially vulnerable for cruelty towards children, more than I used to have since I can't stop thinking how I'd feel if it was being done to my little one.
I've bought this book before I was pregnant, I think about 4 or 5 years ago, and hadn't read it yet. Then after my princess I ignored it, knowing it would be too horrific.
Why did I choose to read it now? Maybe it's because my girl is going through her 'terrible two's' stage? No, I'm just kidding. I'm just a little bit tougher again, you have to be with the girl I'm raising.

I'm glad and sad I read it though. Glad because this is a story so horrific most would turn away and ignore it, but since it has been taken from real life you need to know it, so it won't happen again. People need to see instead of being blind.
I'm sad I read it, because it's something you can't unknow. This contradicts with what I said just a few sentences ago, but my stomach barely could handle what happened in this book. It makes me afraid what would happen if I couldn't care for my daughter and she was left in the care of someone as cruel. Luckily I have a great family I can rely on, but not everyone does.

Despite the subject it's a very well-written novel. I've read more of Jack Ketchum before, Off-Season being one of those novels, and I didn't like it that much. A little too farfetched maybe. The Girl Next Door is horrible due to it's closeness. He depicts a very true scene of life in the late fifties and how children and adults lived in two separate worlds. Transferring the story to a third person seeing the abuse, but not entering into it, makes you as reader a passive viewer of the horror going on. You'll hate it, and at times you'll be glad you haven't seen it all.

I'm rating this 7 out of 10.