BBW Day 2- Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

In honor of Banned Books Week I am highlighting a different banned book each day of the event (maybe even more!) here on my blog.  I’m also hosting a Banned Books Week giveaway

Banned Book: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Where/Why It’s Been Banned: “Challenged, but retained at the Effingham, Ill. Helen Matthes Library (2009) despite concerns about its graphic content and the unsatisfactory ending.  The book is about a fifteen-year-old’s perspective of living with her captor after being forcibly kidnapped and imprisoned at the age of ten.  The book has received several accolades from book critics.  Source: Nov. 2009, pp. 219–20.” (Taken from ala.org)

Why It Should Be Read: I learned about Living Dead Girl at a Y.A. Lit conference last fall.  Ellen Hopkins reviewed it and said “Stark.  Gripping.  Totally unforgettable.”  I thought “If Ellen Hopkins is saying that about a book, it’s a book I have to read.”  I bought my copy and read it in one sitting.  I admit, there were times when I wanted to stop and began to cry, but this is an eye-opening book that I couldn’t put down. 

A young girl, later re-named Alice, is tricked into leaving a field trip with a stranger, and ends up spending the next five years being physically and sexually abused by that man.  The story takes a surprise twist when Ray, the kidnapper, decides he needs a new “Alice” and wants Alice to pick out the new girl. 

The reader understands what’s happening to Alice, and it’s not always because of vivid details.  Scott tells this story in a poignant way, but the sense of urgency and importance is not lost.  I told my students about Living Dead Girl after I read it; my students understood that it’s a mature topic.  It became so popular, with both guys and girls, that I had to buy a second copy and the library bought a copy.  My students were shocked, moved, and wanted to discuss it.  After the Jaycee Dugard story came out, even more students wanted to read this, because they knew the stories were similar.  If anything is learned from Living Dead Girl, it’s to pay more attention to the people around you…

Student Response: One of my students, Paige, said this about Living Dead Girl: “It opens one’s eyes to the situation the story tells about. Stuff like that happens in real life, even if people are in denial about it. This book is for a mature audience. The scenes can seem graphic at times, but it’s no different then what you’d see on tv. Kids see worse stuff than this in movies and on tv shows and on the internet. Banning this book is like removing all rape and child molesting cases from the news.  It’s real, it happens.  You can try to ban the book but you can never get away from the fact that this stuff happens in the real world.”

Comments

  1. Wow…that sounds really good, in a sad, wish it wouldn’t happen kind of way. You’re right, the Jaycee Duggard story makes it more important to be aware of those types of things, and maybe since this book gives an inside view it will give that extra jolt of, “This can happen.”

I love comments!

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