Lessons from a Dead Girl
Leah Green is dead. For Laine, the pain of knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her ona journey of painful self-discovery.
Yes, she had wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practising, Leah said. Practising for when they got older and married. But Laine knew that other girls don't do those things. Do they? Why did Leah choose her? Was she special? Or just easy to control? And why didn't Leah make it stop earlier?
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.
The secret to LfaDG compelling nature is the utter silence surrounding child on child abuse. Knowles has taken it upon herself to to explore this silence.
I think in a way we train ourselves to look away from certain depravities. Our lives perhaps cannot take looking too closely at such pain. We like to live in a state of denial. Out of sight out of mind. Knowles book is a little like a car accident metaphor: horrible and disfiguring but you can’t look away.
What impressed me most was the nuance to each character, none were never truly black or white in a subject that you imagine can only be black or white, good or bad.
Abuser, bad. Victim, good. Surely?
Knowles doesn’t allow you to rest on preconceived laurels. The victims and abusers are the same people. Devastation and hope part of the same sad cycle.
I admire Knowles for her work. She looks at little hidden, kept in shadows and secrets, parts of our teenage culture and makes sure to shine a beacon of light. I cannot offer high enough praise for an author who writes with such hurtful beauty and fearlessness.
A powerful book that, in the right hands, could open up their lives and stop their own sad cycle.
This book will grip you from the beginning. It's so simply told, but the things it's talking about aren't simple at all.
Laine knows that Leah has overstepped the boundaries of friendship, but her confusion over what do do draws her into a trap. Telling anyone about it would lead to ostracism by her peers. Not telling anyone means Leah's behaviour will go on, and on ...
No wonder she wishes that Leah would die. But when her wish comes true, the guilt threatens to overwhelm her.
Although readers will naturally be empathising with Laine from the outset, more mature readers will understand that Leah, too is a victim, and her story is in some ways even sadder than Laine's.
This book may be a little too close to the bone for some readers, but it is nonetheless a rewarding read.