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#BookReview: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell @GinnyMcCoo @4thestatebooks @MattClacher #MyDarkVanessa #Review

Hello there and welcome to the blog of closet reading, I was lucky enough to get my blogging hands on a book that is currently a hot potato within the blogging world, and one that I predict will be one hell of a hit when it’s released in January 23rd next year. The book I am on about is of course My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, it is the hard-hitting novel that can be described as a modern day version of  Lolita. I’d like to thank Matt Clacher of 4th Estate Books for sending me a glorious proof. If this necessary read tickles your bookish pickle, you can pre-order your very own copy here! (It’s been endorsed by Stephen King – “A package of dynamite”, that’s how completely superb it is!)

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. Vanessa Wye was fifteen-years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher. you can find me on twitter @GinnyMcCoo and on instagram @kateelizabethrussell. Kate also has a website with a blog that you can check out here.

Vanessa Wye was fifteen-years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher.
She is now thirty-two and the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student of his. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. But now, in 2017, in the midst of allegations against powerful men, she is being asked to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape.

I’m always quite suspicious of hugely raved reads before they are published, let alone those that are raved so much months before publication date – I know a lot of people are the exact same, but this book hugely lives up to the hype, it exceeds the hype and is a solid must read. The whole of My Dark Vanessa is written in first person from Vanessa, a fifteen year old girl who has increasingly become more aware of her body and as an adult, how her historical sexual ‘awakening’ has affected her emotionally and mentally, while still being manipulated by a person who was meant to keep her safe. The storyline is visualised unbelievable well with the use of time hopping between 2001 and 2017 – the reader knows the bare bones of Vanessa’s story but the jaw dropping shock is elevated to new levels as the plot begins to unravel with a series of difficult to swallow events.

Vanessa is a normal student who exceeds expectations in the creative writing department, she is experiencing puberty while at the same time her first taste of complete independence. Although Vanessa portrays herself as a logically individual, between the cracks you can still see the childlike nativity within her – she is still a child and the attention of her professor makes her feel that she has the lead, when really she has no clue that she is being manipulated. My heart broke as I cascaded down a steep cliff of emotions from anger, frustration and sadness. Kate Elizabeth Russell has created a hard-hitting novel that is filled with trauma and edged with hope. The quality of her writing is brilliant, she sucked me into the life of Vanessa and then spat me out, leaving me completely bereft and utterly stunned.

As I’ve already said, My Dark Vanessa is an absolutely necessary read, especially in times of the #MeToo movement, among this novel Kate has integrated the warning signs of abuse, I think this book could be used as a worthy tool to help explain various social issues, such as what sexual consent means, that the definition of a sexually abused victim has a wide range of grey areas – from grooming to the ongoing power of the abuser. This is an essential read!

I read My Dark Vanessa in multiple sittings because it was so twisted, but what you, as well as I need to remember is that this fictional tale has been developed around a non – fictional issue – Kate has written this novel in a sensitive and respectful way, I can’t fault her, not at all. The evocative and emotive essence of My Dark Vanessa will stick with me for a long while, like that heavy feeling in your stomach. This book is sadly a story of our times, but it could also be a weapon in the war against it.

Verdict – It completely blew me away! The whole read was an emotional marathon and My Dark Vanessa is a bookish force of nature. Pre – order it and scream about it from the rooftops.

Thank you again Matt for sending me a copy of this read!

I’ve also included links for those who may need them.

I also find this YouTube very helpful when explaining consent, and it’s youngster friendly, so can be a weapon in eradicating this sort of abuse at the roots.

Tea and Consent

Happy Reading.

Categories Book reviewTags

1 thought on “#BookReview: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell @GinnyMcCoo @4thestatebooks @MattClacher #MyDarkVanessa #Review

  1. Awesome review! I’ve added to my TBR LIST as it sounds amazing!!


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