Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

4 Stars

Have you ever read a book that you could not (with a clear conscience, at least) recommend to anyone? Ever read something that made you feel like you should turn yourself over to the authorities because only psychotic criminals would be interested in the subject matter you just exposed yourself to? If so, then you probably already read The Girl Next Door.

When Meg and Susan’s parents die, they are taken in by their aunt rather than becoming wards of the state. Moving into a relative’s house in a quaint little suburban town with safe schools and a neighborhood full of other kids to play should have been the best case scenario for two orphans. Yes, it should have been – but there is a darkness inside the Chandler family home that is brought to light with the addition of two girls to the household.

These are the types of stories you see blips of on the evening news (or massive months-long coverage by “respected journalists” like Nancy Grace or Jane Velez-Mitchell). They are the stories you claim to watch only because you care so much about the fate of the missing/found victim. They are stories that if you follow too closely make you feel like a sociopathic voyeur.

This book takes you into the torture chamber and insanity that you know exists each time you see another story like that of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. It’s a book that totally goes there with no holds barred about what could happen if a young girl was placed in the home of a complete nutter. The author breaks every barrier of what is “okay” to write about, but does it so well that you can’t stop turning the page. EVERYTHING that is horrible and taboo is covered in this story, so don’t say you weren’t warned if you decide to pick it up. As for me? I’m going to go finish the rest of my “forgetting medicine” now . . .

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