!!> BOOKS ✵ My Dark Vanessa ✫ Author Kate Elizabeth Russell – E-inbusiness.co.uk

My Dark Vanessa Year 2000Vanessa, 15 years of age, grew up in a quiet small town in Maine on Whalesback Lake She attended Browick High School a boarding schoolcouple hours away from her home Too young to drive her mother usually drove her to school and picked her back up to come home during holiday breaks Early in the book I wondered if Vanessa s mother had serious reasons to worry about her daughter s basic state of well beingor if the mother was just being a typical mom make some friends , yada, yada.As a mother I was sure the mother saw red flag signs that her daughter was hurting inside But mom didn t do anything What could she do Just make friends , mom tells her daughter One morning, Vanessa walked through campus several times trying to calm herself It was early September.Most students noticed the beautiful surroundings the colorful mountains and colorful maple leaves groups of students sat outside together studying laughing socializing Vanessa was feeling restless unsatisfied alone and disconnected from other students.I could feel her anxiety how uncomfortable she felt in her own skin Vanessa couldn t find a place to put herself The library was too dark Her dorm room was too depressing.Every place she walked seemed to be crowded with people studying in groups, highlighting how very alone, Vanessa felt Vanessa forced herself to stop sit down at a grassy slope behind the humanities building to calm herself Breathe she tells herself So with already being on edge, depressed really ,.Vanessa sits down leans against a tree, reaches into her backpack to pull out her spiral notebook to begin working on a poem she s writing..Footsteps were soon approaching.Mr Strane noticed Vanessa from above looking out his window He came to join her Vanessa was reading a poem that she was working on interesting her poem was about a girl strapped on an island.I could feel how critical Vanessa was of her work, her writing, and of herself Self esteem was at an all time low Mr Strane notices Vanessa s red rimmed eyes and says You re Upset Can I ask what s upsetting you Vanessa thinks her problems are too big to explain.Frustrated Vanessa tells Mr Strane that her poem is bad, and that she can t even pick a study spot without exhausting herself.She tries to share how dark she feels Mr Strane is intensely listening Vanessa was seriously fearful that she could never fix herself I wanted her to call her mom Maybe with Mr Strane s help, acknowledgment, extra attention to her Vanessa could begin to feel stronger and confident Maybe Vanessa s fixation on Mr Strane Harvard graduate passionate about literature might be a positive mentor for her Hawe don t fool easy At 15 away from home at a boarding school what stood out to me was how painfully alone and vulnerable Vanessa was I wanted somebody to help her really help her.As the reader we are cringing witnessing the rabbit hole Vanessa is about to fall through As painful as it was to know what was coming a disturbing inappropriate entanglement between a 15 year old impressionable girl and a 42 year old teacher A story as old as ever.I couldn t pull myself away from this book The writing storytelling is seductively addictive and gripping Honestly the best call it what you want MeToo novel I ve ever read I just know this novel gets soooo inside your own skin In another scene, Mr Strane says to Vanessa I think we re very similar, Nessa, he whispers I can tell from the way you write that you re a dark romantic like me You like dark things Shielded by the desk, he reaches down and pats my knee gently, gingerly, the way you might a dog before you re sure it won t turn mean and bite you I don t bite him I don t move I don t even breathe He keeps writing notes on the poem while his other hand strokes my knee and my mind slips out of me Year 2017 Vanessa Wye is 32 years of age She meets Jacob Strane, in a coffee shop It s been five years since the last time she d seen him Seventeen years since she was his student girl thing When Vanessa first sees Strane againyears later..she feels the same way she did when she was 15 and he was 42 attraction Throwing her arms around the much older Strane, when they catch up.he had that same coffee and chalk dust smell he did when she was his student Jacob Strand was accused of sexually abusing a former student It s posted all over Facebook At first Vanessa defends Strane She believes that she willingly engaged in a relationship with him Vanessa believed that she and Mr Strane had a special relationship.They still connected with each other by phone well into her adulthood This book is impossible to put down I gave up the outdoors summer daylight hours in exchange for being an addictive daytime reading couch potato.I felt a pull an urgency an importance to marathon read this book I want to scream to other readers this is sooooooo GOOD a MUST READ which it is ITS REALLY GOOD and WORTHY of being called a BUZZ BOOK.But really good , are not really the right words to describe our feelings about the book s complexities.The novel s achievement is deeply affecting genuinely and significantly emotionally wrenching yet intellectually rigorous Stephen King said, this novel is A well constructed package of dynamite ABSOLUTELY Is the difference between rape and sex a state of mind You can t rape the willing, right Or Kate Elizabeth Russell s writing is engrossingfragilebrittlesharp.and pulsing The characters she creates are so hauntingly real When young girls, or women, love their abuser excuses made for them are outrageous, but they re nothing compared with the excuses made about themselves If this book doesn t have you looking at sexual abusers vs sexual consent in new ways then I ll eat my hat Big thanks to HarperCollinsPublishing for an advance copy of this extraordinary novel released in January, 2020 Powerful powerfulpowerful Out of ashI rise with my red hairAnd I eat men like air from the book Ariel , by Sylvia Plath Absolutely 5 stars This story goes back and forth in time from when Vanessa started attending a boarding school at 15 years of age and has a relationship with her 42 year old English teacher and in her later years when she is a 32 year old adult.Vanessa had a dark side, kept to herself quite a solitary personality Her teacher paid her a lot of attention and complimented her and loaned out his favorite books to her etc she actually started seeking him out, felt special and felt powerful over his reactions to her Then a sexual relationship started.At the time she is 32, the Me Too movement is all over the news..some other women have also accused this teacher, whom she has kept in touch with and who consumes her entire life she s always considered this a real relationship love she loved him, felt he loved loves her.This is a story that brings up a lot of questions about victimhood, consent.I can just imagine the intense discussions that may come out of a group read of this book.Anyway this was powerful, raw, and intense read.Thankful to William Morrow Books and Kate Elizabeth Russell for the advance reader s edition that I won from a sweepstakes My Dark Vanessa is a dark, deeply disturbing and unsettling novel that captures the zeitgeist of our contemporary realities of the MeToo movement, looking at the complexities and emotional repercussions of a love affair between a lonely schoolgirl, anxious, suffering the loss of her closest friend, with self esteem issues, desperate for attention, with a much older, manipulative and predatory male who zeroes in on her vulnerabilities This uncomfortable book examines the psychological and sexual anatomy of a relationship between 15 year old Vanessa Wye and her 45 year old English teacher, Jacob Strane, how it all began, and his prophetic words that he will ruin her At 32 years old, Vanessa is seeing a therapist to deal with her grief over the loss of her father, working in a dead end hotel job, and Strane is having to deal with the fallout of a former student, Taylor Birch, having gone public with allegations of abuse He needs to know that he has nothing to worry about from Vanessa She reassures him, despite feeling the pressures of a climate to be honest about male behaviours and attitudes.In a narrative that goes back and forth in time, we see that Vanessa s relationship with Strane is the axiomatic and pivotal one of her life, she has never got over him, he has been her obsession but what is the nature of the ties that bind her to him so irrevocably She is herself not certain of who they were in the past, what exactly happened and what they are now, her memories are confused, fractured and questionable when it comes to reliability She has invested so much of who she is in him and she has to believe it was love, if she begins to question this, her sense of self, her identity, threatens to splinter apart She feels the outside world is too quick to judge, and fails to appreciate that feelings, sex and love cannot be compartmentalised and categorised so rigidly according to society s norms, humanity is far complicated and flawed She has power, control, and desires, she chose Strane, she is no victim, she is the love of his life, special and irreplaceable But what if she hasn t seen him clearly What if she is one of many girls targeted by Strane Strane abuses his position of influence to groom young, naive, susceptible school girls, the nightmare of every parent, using the panoply of literary greats in his arsenal of weapons against the immature young girl, a history of writers who had relationships with young girls A literary chorus all men of precedents, approval and support from history and the arts to legitimise Strane s darker desires for young female flesh and the wider communities complicity in this widespread practice This includes the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Frost, and Nabokov s Pale Fire, his references to My Dark Vanessa , and Lolita is, of course, central, all adding their weight to the inevitability and righteousness of Vanessa and Strane s unconventional dark romantic relationship, particularly in Vanessa s malleable mind Strane gaslights with no qualms, his rewriting of their personal history, of how Vanessa had control, equal power and green lit every step of their relationship, are critical self serving and self protective strategies This is a challenging read, I had to make myself finish the book, but it is thought provoking in its portrayal of one of the burning issues of our day I have no doubts this is a book that it is going to be huge on publication Highly recommended Many thanks to HarperCollins 4th Estate for an ARC. I completely underestimated how dark this book was actually going to be Clearly the title is an indicator If you didn t catch on from the title, well there is a sensational book description that makes it clear what the subject matter was going to be Yet.I was still deeply disturbed by what I was reading I can t stress how dark, disturbing and difficult this was to read That being said, I could not put this down I am not even sure I can muster the words to give this book the review that it deserves It was just that powerful After reading this, I can see why the author specifically stated that this is not a story about herself, or anyone that she personally knows for that matter It is just about all the girls like Vanessa in the world I have decided the reason this book was so incredibly hard to read is because it is so real Somehow this debut author has managed to make Vanessa so damn real that you would swear she was writing her own story You would swear Vanessa was typing her story furiously onto the pages, perhaps in a diary With the whole me too movement we have heard many different voices Yet this story managed to floor me It was from Vanessa s point of view, that she was not a victim That she had chosen to get into a relationship with her English instructor Jacob Strane I had never given this consideration that the victim would not realize they were the victim She was clearly the victim of this vile, disgusting man that used his power and position to lure Vanessa in What if the victim doesn t realize it She sees it as a love story She thinks he is kind and caring, impressed that he would take the time to notice her that she is special.My emotions were all over the place reading this This invoked such an array of feelings in me I was distraught, disgusted, angry and sad Being a 15 year girl many years ago, I can see how Vanessa was realizing that she had a power over men How she was just discovering that she could make them look her way Some of the details are so graphic I considered putting down the book and taking a break from it as I felt I really couldn t endure any of it Except I couldn t put it down I had to know how this ended for Vanessa I very rarely get this emotionally involved in a book, but this one destroyed me That being said it is a must read It will be hard to read the graphic details, but it is hard because you know this is the truth This is what is happening to girls like Vanessa every day The author spun a story that so uniquely shows a glimpse into the victim s mind A victim that doesn t even realize she is a victim or is she just telling herself that to protect herself Thank you so much to Harper Collins William Morrow for this advance copy via Edelweiss I am blown away by the powerful nature of this novel This is one of the best written books I have read in years Be warned, this book deals with dark subject matter, that of child grooming and protracted sexual abuse 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 But this book is necessary This book truly gets inside the mind of the victim, Vanessa, and shows It shows how she thinks she lived the love story of our times but was in fact the victim of the most predatory of men and it is heartbreaking To see the workings of her mind as we go from fifteen year old youthful exuberance to a broken thirty something The book alternates between Vanessa s past and her present as she unravels of what happened to her The book shows how she misremembered things and how that as a reader we can see the manipulation that occurred but then we get to see her perspective And how she has this view of the world because of the insidious grooming that took place And the grooming Oh gosh it s horrible As a reader you just want to scream and shout and ask why is no one doing anything There was all this rumour and then evidence And the world looked away But all the while Vanessa is a child And Mr Strane is three times her ageThis book is so painful This book is an indictment on how completely lax and complicit we have been as a society It is an indictment on how we have terms and sayings like it s not rape rape if there was perceived consent because she was a slut or nymphet type character, or if her body orgasmed then how could it be rape Rape is rape but this book dares to show up the darkest and most troubling belief s of society and makes us uncomfortable for having those societal beliefs This book left me broken It left me angry, frustrated I want to scream from the top of my lungs about consent and what it truly means I want to scream where was the protection for this child How was she left singularly under this man s control But I also love how this dares to ask questions about the agency of the victim About how in this era it is somewhat expected that they reveal their stories to the world at large How if one person comes forward that was a victim of a particular sexual perpetrator, other victims are again shamed and blamed if they too don t come forward It asks to whom does the narrative belong to Can a victim truly be sympathised with and respected if they wish to stay quiet If they wish to live as normal a life as they can.And that to me is where this novel is brilliant It exposes the tabloid nature of the modern era and instead asks us to always respect the victim and their agency over the narrative of their experience And also to respect that because of the insidiousness of sexual abuse that these people, are not always able to see things as black and white That consent to them is greyed because inherently no one wants to be seen as a victim Everyone wants to be seen as strong and powerful Of always being in charge And this is portrayed in this novel as how the sexual predator always used gas lighting techniques and honeyed words to groom his victim into thinking he was a helpless man that couldn t resist her nymphet charms And Vanessa believed that Even when she was being raped she believed it was sex, that it was nice, that he asked her if it was okay even though he had already removed her underwear, was already engaging in oral sex with her, was already thrusting into her he repeatedly told her it was nice and he said she was okay Fair warning, this book is graphic in detail But not in some gratuitous manner It all feels necessary and integral to exploring Vanessa s mindset and how she was groomed This book has already been praised by so manyChallenging and uncompromising, My Dark Vanessa is the book everyone will be talking about in 2020 Louise O Neill, author of Asking For It A hard story to read and a harder one to put down a package of dynamite Stephen King Riveting and compulsive, My Dark Vanessa unsettles with every sentence A novel that asks urgent questions and refuses easy answers Elizabeth Day, author of The Party Unsettling, compulsive and deeply thought provoking Extremely well done Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange Gripping, dark, prescient and searing in its emotional honesty, My Dark Vanessa is a must read of the year Sarah Pinborough, author of Behind Her Eyes and Cross Her Heart My Dark Vanessa destroyed me Gripping, stunningly written, and important I ve been waiting for this book Julie Buntin, author of MarlenaAnd I fully echo all these sentiments The hype is real This is the book that we need That this book, although uncomfortable, truly gives voice to victims of sexual abuse and very much opens up the conversation about consent and agency over the narrative of a victim s life story five starsI was invited to read an e copy of this book by the publisher, Harper Collins UK 4th Estate, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Expected publication January 23rd 2020For reviews and book related chat check out my blog This is one of the most horrific books I have ever read Truly disturbing I had read and loved Putney last year so I was very much looking forward to this how weird is that to say considering the subject matter I ll admit I couldn t read this one straight through My brain needed to take breaks I think it s because the depictions of abuse are descriptive and explicit at times and my stomach would lurch at the imagery This story is about Vanessa a 15 year old girl who attends boarding school and begins an affair with her 42 year old English teacher The affair lasts until she is 21 years old Too old for him to be attracted to her any We see how this relationship nearly destroys her Yet, all the while she is quick to defend him and their relationship Even after several girls come forward also accusing him of abuse Vanessa doesn t believe these other women as he only had eyes for her She was his one true love She felt as if they were two dark spirits brought together FateWhen Strane and I met, I was fifteen and he was 42, a near perfect 30 years between us That s how I described the difference back then perfect I love the math of it, three times my age, how easy it was to imagine three of me fitting inside him one curled around his brain, another around his heart, the third turned to liquid and sliding through his veinsStrane is well aware that what he is doing is wrong yet he can t control his urges He is a master manipulator and it was infuriating to witness He even tells her from the very beginningI m going to ruin youVanessa feels like it s her fault that he is the way he is She was too irresistible to him and she knew it She acted in ways that didn t give him a choice She feels as if she is the spider that lured him to her web when it was actually the other way around I ve been a bad, bad girlI ve been careless with a delicate manAnd it s a sad, sad worldWhen a girl will break a boyJust because she canDon t you tell me to deny itI ve done wrong and I wanna suffer for my sinsI ve come to you cause I need guidance to be trueAnd I just don t know where I can beginWhat I need is a good defenseCause I m feelin like a criminalAnd I need to be redeemedTo the one I ve sinned againstBecause he s all I ever knew of love Fiona Apple Criminal Vanessa often references how similar her life is to that of this song above and it truly is fitting to her She thinks she s the one with the power So little does she know..The writing is absolutely superb from beginning to end Kate Elizabeth Russell has a dazzling future ahead of her and I can t wait to read 5 stars Thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. compared to THE GIRLS and ROOM i would like it nOW please Exploring The Psychological Dynamics Of The Relationship Between A Precocious Yet Na Ve Teenage Girl And Her Magnetic And Manipulative Teacher, A Brilliant, All Consuming Read That Marks The Explosive Debut Of An Extraordinary New Writer 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 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 S Transforming Our Relationships And Society Itself Me, getting jazzed up to read this book, even though the content is polarizing A tense and intense novel While this is about the sexual abuse of a fifteen year old student by her forty ish teacher, it s also about agency, victimization and complicity The dark Vanessa of the title is groomed, made to feel special, and mistakes abuse for love Yet, she was in love with a creepy, manipulative pedophile Vanessa tells her story by moving back and forth between being fifteen years old, through portions of her twenties and into her thirties When her abuser is outted she is forced to grapple with her complex emotions about the relationship and the damage that was done to her The material is dark, disturbing, literary, and sophisticated It certainly doesn t read like a debut and will most certainly be a bestseller.


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