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My Dark Vanessa: A Novel

My Dark Vanessa: A Novel

Написано Kate Elizabeth Russell

Озвучено Grace Gummer


My Dark Vanessa: A Novel

Написано Kate Elizabeth Russell

Озвучено Grace Gummer

оценки:
4.5/5 (1 238 оценки)
Длина:
16 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
10 мар. 2020 г.
ISBN:
9780062941534
Формат:

Описание

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.

Includes a bonus conversation with Kate Elizabeth Russell, Grace Gummer, and Jessica Williams (editor of My Dark Vanessa).

Издатель:
Издано:
10 мар. 2020 г.
ISBN:
9780062941534
Формат:

Об авторе

Kate Elizabeth Russell is originally from eastern Maine. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the University of Kansas and an MFA from Indiana University. My Dark Vanessa is her first novel.


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4.4
1238 оценки / 97 Обзоры
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Отзывы читателей

  • (5/5)
    The narrator did a fantastic job bringing this story to life! This book is purely heartbreaking but incredible!! A must-read
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book though frustrating at times; could not put it down. Definitely tugs on your heart strings.
  • (4/5)
    Vanessa is a complicated person who's life got even more complex after her high school teacher abuses her, but she can't call it an abuse. The book let us see a different perspective on survivors necessity to come forward, like #MeToo movement pressures to do. Also on what is the "right way" to cope with trauma.
  • (4/5)
    This book is very disturbing and will stay with the reader long after finishing.
    Even though this is fiction it is so close to what has happened in the world to not feel real.
    A 15 year old girl is groomed and molested by her teacher and the story takes you through her life from when it started until she is in her 30's. How messed up she is and how brain washer he made her. How her parents handled everything and how its possible that things like this happen is told so brilliantly by the author. This is a first book by Kate Elizabeth Russell. I cant wait to see what she writes next. Such an amazingly well written story!
  • (4/5)
    After a shaky start, the book grew on me, but it would have been served by a better editor - a good 25% of the novel could have been pared down to make it tighter & more cohesive. Vanessa´s refusal to see herself as a victim or Stane as an abuser would have been better explained by delving into her childhood more.
  • (4/5)
    When I read "Lolita", by Vladimir Nabokov, his writing was so exquisitely evocative that I could not finish the book. It was so painful to read! I think the fact that the writing in "My Dark Vanessa" was not quite at Nabokov's level, ssomehow made the events more bearable to read about. This story of a young girl being groomed and abused by a boarding school teacher was very difficult to tolerate, yet it was told from two points of view, the adolescent & the adult. The reason I think this book is so important stems from the psychological insight into the lifelong impact of such an experience, which is not often discussed. I think we as a culture just quickly acknowledge that such behavior is wrong, but it is too uncomfortable to think about much more than that. If you can bring yourself to read this uncomfortable story, the way in which a child's self image becomes distorted and impacts the rest of that person's life is enlightening. Not an easy topic or book!
  • (4/5)
    I‘m not sure how to review this book. My response to it is all feeling.
  • (4/5)
    Lolita theme often referred to here by the main characters - a teacher in his forties and a fifteen year old girl. Despite its confronting subject matter - grooming and sexual abuse - this novel is a good read. The narration by teen, Vanessa, is so skilfully done that we see how victims of abuse grow to question their perceptions as they are manipulated and gaslighted by their perpetrators.
    Not for everyone but an insightful and well written novel.
  • (4/5)
    First book for 2021 is My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. This novel explores the complex and disturbing effects of abuse. Vanessa is a 15-year old girl who has an affair with her much older English teacher. What makes this novel different is that Vanessa doesn't react the way you'd think most victims of abuse would react. This book elicited all sorts of reaction from me , from disgust to anger to compassion. With all the books I've read over the years, I have never met a character like Vanessa and her story will linger with me for a long time.
  • (5/5)
    My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth RussellThe Story of fifteen year old Vanessa Wye and her affair with her forty two year old English teacher Jacob Strane. Starting in 2000 when the affair began and 2017 when allegation of sexual abuse by Strane emerge.Masterfully told in alternating times through Vanessa's voice we hear what she went through and how she is coping. The decisions she made, could make, and does make all affect her personally and change her life.Overall I found My Dark Vanessa thought provoking, emotional and at times difficult to read. Kate Elizabeth Russell touches a controversial subject in a way that is understandable and (at times) heartbreaking. I recommend to those over 18 due to some graphic content.
  • (5/5)
    This was an extremely difficult book to read. It is about a 15-year old girl, Vanessa Wye, and her complicated relationship with her teacher - 42 year old Jacob Strane. Their relationship quickly moves to a sexual relationship and Vanessa struggles to define herself after this affair, and whether or not he took advantage of her and advised her, or if she wanted it-a modern Lolita. Truly, what 15 year old has the capacity to make this decision? It is heartbreaking how her life tumbles out of control and how she can’t let go of Strane. Very powerful book. #MyDarkVanessa #KateElizabethRussell
  • (4/5)
    I read another book with a similar theme very recently, Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Stout. The grooming methods of both teachers were almost identical — the compliments on their writing, recommending special books, suggesting a special after school club as a pretense. In that way, the book follows a familiar pattern because predators follow a familiar pattern, just like Humbert Humbert before them. What I liked about this book was following Vanessa for the 17 years beyond her initial abuse. Lolita does the same in a way, but of course from Humbert’s perspective. I would have been interested in hearing more about her adult relationships after college, perhaps instead of the plot line with her college professor, but I understand how that piece moved the plot forward. I liked her atmospheric descriptions of Maine sprinkled here and there, from her small town to her seaside college. Worth reading for a Me Too era inspired take on a sadly familiar story.
  • (4/5)
    Jacob Strane is a dynamic English teacher at the Bostwick boarding School in Maine. Vanessa's story about him is tin two parts: one as a fifteen-year old and the other seventeen years later working in a hotel at the concierge desk. The first part is chilling. Strane isolates and grooms her, making her feel special in a world where she feels like an outcast. From her adult perspective, she understands his manipulations of her and others, but is still in his thrall as his transgressions come to light. There is surely no criminal as universally reviled as a pedophile. Even hardened criminals convicted of murder despise them. We all watched in horror as the true stories of Epstein and Sandusky were reviewed, along with countless others who didn't have the notoriety that they did. Dark is the operative word for this novel as it weaves a story where the victim feels responsible for the pedophile for many years, despite knowing his multiple assaults on other teenage girls in his class.
  • (5/5)
    A thought provoking and complex look into pedophilia. Vanessa is fifteen when she is sent to a boarding school where she falls under the spell of he much older English teacher, Mr. Strane, who makes her feel very special. He carefully and slowly nurtures the relationship always getting Vanessa's permission and even encouraging here to initiate further movement emotionally and sexually giving her the feel of control. Eventually everything come to light and Vanessa takes the blame and gets thrown out of school. The book follows her into her thirties and she never exposes him and the relationship continues. The issue here is can a teenage girl have a real loving relationship with a much older man or does manipulation from a position of power negate their "love". Ultimately, I think he was still a pervert.
  • (5/5)
    4.75

    Powerful, disturbing, and a difficult yet amazing read.
  • (4/5)
    The imagery and details are thoughtfully written and spot on. The author has done her research so as to keep the reader in suspense while forcing them to hold on to the unwanted feeling of unease.
    A really good debut, almost too good.
  • (4/5)
    Vanessa Wye becomes "involved" with her teacher at a boarding school. She is 15 years old. She feels that she is adored, etc by this man. Life progresses and we learn about the way that Vanessa has dealt with this throughout her life after she graduates and moves on with her life. This book was so well written and you are hoping that Vanessa comes to the realization of her situation and the manipulation that was played on her brain.
  • (5/5)
    This was a good book...the story kept me intrigued and interested. I think the most important and innovative thing this author accomplished was looking at the adult Vanessa's perspective on what happened to her when she was 15. As a mother of adult children, it's easy for me to say that Vanessa was raped, and was the victim of a predator....and nowhere does the book deny this. But Vanessa says, tellingly, that she needs her relationship with her high school teacher to be a love story, because if it isn't, what does that mean for her self-image and sense of agency? The author probes this theme with depth and sensitivity, without ever excusing the teacher for his behaviour. Well worth reading for these insights...and as a fascinating story.
  • (5/5)
    Not sure about this book. It certainly hits the point about how difficult trauma can be. There is no one in the book you love or even root for except perhaps the therapist. Complicated book. Good for bookclub
  • (5/5)
    The book engages you with surprise but authentic emotions. It stops you from thinking and drags you gently into the dark corners of minds interacting without any constraints of predestination. Since I didn’t read the book but only listened to it, I don’t know how the book spells Jacob/Jakob Straign/Strain. I’m curious.
  • (5/5)
    This almost captures my high school and half of my university years... I wish I had received this book on my 14th birthday?
  • (5/5)
    Intimate and chilling. The narrator did a beautiful job. Highly recommended!
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely incredible!!! I love how the author helps you to understand how grooming affects a young person and shows an amazing perspective of a teenage girl and her journey. I related to character in the sense of self blaming- very common amongst victims of abuse. This book was so addictive and couldn’t stop listening to see how it turned out.
  • (5/5)
    Absolutely genius! Relevant, complex, nuanced. I have a feeling that this book will be a classic of it's time and yet it is timeless because Vanessa could be any woman. Thank you
  • (5/5)
    Fantastic book! Will definitely be reading/listening to this one again.
  • (5/5)
    Lovely story that examines character motivations and looks at a topic often considered taboo. The characterization is wonderful. Some might consider the main character and support characters annoying or self-centered. I enjoy a good unreliable narrator, and Vanessa fits the bill. The literary references are fun. Maybe I’ll read Donna Tartt next.
    ——————
    Glitchy at the end chapter 5. Turning off my phone and redownloading solved nothing. Sound cuts in and out so whole words are lost. I can’t find a way to report it but you’ll need to read the end of the chapter to catch the multiple words dropped from the audio as it cuts in and out.
    Edit: I had to delete the entire app to fix the skipping audio. It was a nightmare getting back in, but it’s playing like normal now, so I’m updating my review. The audiobook is great and an enjoyable listen.
  • (4/5)
    Dark, disturbing, and filled with vivid images of teen angst that spills into adulthood.
  • (4/5)
    I don't know how to rate this book. Triggering so triggering and maybe cathartic. Sickening and beautiful and painful
  • (5/5)
    I loved this story. It was hard and it took me a while to get through it, but it was worth it.
  • (5/5)
    Gripping and disturbing. Although never suffering sexual abuse I found myself being able to relate to Vanessa. I think a lot of readers felt the same. It was so well written and performed. Best book I've completed all year and definitely one I would come back to. I couldn't stop.