Today, it’s another book review and it’s My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.
Today, I’m back with a book review – a book that’s highly discussed at the moment – the debut novel from Kate Elizabeth Russell, My Dark Vanessa. But first, what’s it all about? Here’s the synopsis:
ALL HE DID WAS FALL IN LOVE WITH ME AND THE WORLD TURNED HIM INTO A MONSTER
Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher.
She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student.
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.
Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.
Nuanced, uncomfortable, bold and powerful, My Dark Vanessa goes straight to the heart of some of the most complex issues of our age.
This is a book I’ve seen everywhere on social media – way before it was published. I was excited to read it and as soon as my pre-order arrived, I couldn’t stop reading it. The subject matter of the novel is a hard read, it’s uncomfortable and it’s bold and powerful but I think Russell writes it brilliantly – it’s nuanced and written beautifully.
What I loved most about the novel is the writing – for a debut novel, this is a brilliantly produced novel. I think this is a great feat of storytelling at it’s finest, it’s just beautifully crafted. A sentence here or a paragraph there shows Russell is a great and brilliant writer. I loved how she described the atmosphere, the locations, nature and weather – it’s beautiful and I loved the way she used similes/metaphors, too.
I really loved the structure and use of time in the novel too from present day to Vanessa in school and the start of her relationship with her teacher, Strane. While I think it’s brilliantly written, I did feel that something was missing. It didn’t “wow” me like I expected it would – perhaps it was the time I was reading it or the subject matter perhaps but something just felt missing.
It’s a brilliantly crafted novel that’s compulsive, powerful and bold with a talented writer but something was missing for me. I can’t wait to see what she writes next as this was a brilliantly written debut novel.
Have you read My Dark Vanessa? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!