Tuesday, November 10, 2020

My Dark Vanessa By: Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa
Author: Kate Elizabeth Russell
Publisher: William Morrow
Published: March 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 373
Rating: 2.5/5
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. 

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself. 

Honestly, I don't really know what to say about this book. I will say there were a few moments that were compelling and had me wanting to know more and find out what was going to happen, but personally this just wasn't the book for me.

I couldn't connect with Vanessa or any other characters, and I definitely felt uncomfortable reading this book. Like obviously that's something that is supposed to get you because it's a teacher student relationship, but between the past and present, I just felt kind of grossed out by it all.

I also feel like it was hard to focus on Vanessa's story and actually feel like what she was doing or thinking was logical...She was way too blinded by Strane to really notice that literally EVERYTHING that was happening was wrong.

Speaking of Strane... he was just such a CREEP! Like there was absolutely nothing in there that would sway me a different way, and when you're flipping from past to present when he's just an old man, I feel even more grossed out! Not to mention the ending was just a cop out in my opinion.

Overall, I didn't like this book. It was written okay, although I feel like it was just Vanessa trying to make something seem like it wasn't actually what it was, and the interaction between the characters was just off putting, I'm surprised I managed to push through. 

Although I can't say I would recommend reading this, just because I don't like a book, doesn't mean you'll have the same feelings. I know plenty of people who really liked it... I just didn't.

That's all for my review today, I hope you check it out and see if it's something you'll enjoy.

So until the next time, Keep Reading!
Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)

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