"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

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Summary: A woman is kidnapped and kept in a cabin in the Canadian woods. Once she's freed, she's never feels safe.

I was hesitant to read this book, simply because the subject is so disturbing. Annie O'Sullivan is kidnapped from work one day, kept in a cabin in the Canadian woods, raped daily and brutalized for over a year. The Freak, as Annie calls her captor, only lets her urinate four times a day. When she tries to go the bathroom at a different time, he punishes her by making her drink the toilet water. That's a small sample of the abuse she suffers, as he lives out some crazy fantasy.

I kept reading because the book opens with Annie free and talking to a therapist, so I knew that somehow she escaped. Annie also becomes pregnant during her captivity and delivers a baby. I wish I had stopped reading soon after the baby's birth because things got even worse. I thought that when Annie delivered the baby that hospital staff helps her escape or something, but Annie delivers the baby in the cabin!

When Annie gets out - I won't tell you how - her life is almost more tense, and she never feels safe. Then, after a second kidnapping attempt, Annie's won't rest until she knows exactly why she was kidnapped and who The Freak was working with, if anybody. The villain of the piece comes as a surprise, but Annie's paranoia makes her doubt almost everyone.

This is a debut novel, and it shows, with uneven, unpolished passages. Annie also uses vulgarity frequently, which is a character choice by the author but also typical of people with underdeveloped vocabulary. I wish I hadn't read this, because it creeped me out, but I finished.  I can't recommend it to people, because it's not my style, but I can see how it would appeal to others. As a story, I did think it was better written than Room.

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