My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Rating: 3 stars DNFed on page 276
Suburbia. Shady, tree-lined streets, well-tended lawns and cozy homes. A nice, quiet place to grow up. Unless you are teenage Meg or her crippled sister, Susan. On a dead-end street, in the dark damp basement of the Chandler house, Meg and Susan are left captive to the savage whims and rages of a distant aunt who is rapidly descending into madness. It is a madness that infects all three of her sons and finally the entire neighborhood. Only one troubled boy stands hesitantly between Meg and Susan and their cruel, torturous deaths. A boy with a very adult decision to make.
Review: ***Spoiler Alert.***
1/3 through the book.
Halfway through the book.
Where I stopped.
Ever read a book that makes you lose all faith in humanity? Ever read a book that makes you want to turn yourself in because it feels like you were an accomplice to a crime? Ever read a book that makes you feel like someone has a cork screw in your stomach and is twisting your guts? If you said yes to all of the above you might have read The Girl Next Door. This story is not for the faint of heart. There were many times I put this book down and I told myself that I wouldn’t pick it up again. Till this final time I drew the line and said no more.
This scared me. What even makes this book even more horrifying is that Ketchum loosely based it off of an actual crime.(The murder of Sylvia Likens) Nothing, I repeat, nothing compares to the way this book has made me feel. I have had nightmares. While reading I felt nauseous. Many times I wanted to cry and curl up in a fetal position. I actually wanted to call my mom there for a little while to see if I could go over and have her rub my back like she did when I was a kid.
This book is being rated on writing and plot line. Did I enjoy this book? Hell no. But damn was the writing good. Would I ever recommend it? No. If you are reading this and debating on whether or not you want to read this, ask yourself do I want to drink myself into an early death. And if you don’t drink this book just might get you to. Also ask yourself do you want to question humanity for the rest of your life.
The story doesn’t consist of blood and gore but a psychological mind blowing experience in a way you don’t want. Your mind will be left violated. Yes there is abuse of all three, physical, mental, and sexual.
The story starts off with David or Davy writing his experience of the summer of 1958. The summer he met Meg and Susan. Meg and Susan were in a horrible car wreck that took the lives of their parents. They are shipped off to live with their aunt and her three sons. (Ruth’s sons from the beginning had little serial killers in the making vibe. Donny was probably the least horrible but still horrible. Woofer seemed as the worst.)They are abused from the time they got to the Chandler house. First verbal then slowly to physical. Ruth degrades Meg then when Meg acts out she punishes her through Susan. Meg gets the worst out of the two. First it’s Ruth then Ruth learns of the Game that the children play and wants to play it too with Meg. Kids being kids when they hear game they think it’s alright.
David is stuck in between wanting to fit in with the other kids and wanting to save Meg. He feels torn because he has know Ruth and her sons all his life. Donny is his best friend. Plus it was the Game. Between David’s inner battle of wanting to help Meg and watching what is being done to her is hard to read. During the time of the ’50’s and the ’60’s, kids were powerless, unlike kids today. Parents’ word was law. If a kid misbehaved a parent was to discipline them. These times are very much unlike today. If a child cries wolf today everyone from cops to the local (sometimes national) media gets involved. Through David’s eyes we see this play out.