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{ "item_title" : "My Dark Vanessa", "item_author" : [" Kate Elizabeth Russell "], "item_description" : "INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER An exceedingly complex, inventive, resourceful examination of harm and power. --The New York Times Book Review, Editors' ChoiceA lightning rod . . . brilliantly crafted.--The Washington PostA most anticipated book by The New York Times - USA Today - Entertainment Weekly - Marie Claire - Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Bustle - Newsweek - New York Post - Esquire - Real Simple - The Sunday Times - The GuardianExploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet na ve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager--and who professed to worship only her--may be far different from what she has always believed?Alternating between Vanessa's present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.", "item_img_path" : "https://covers4.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/0/06/294/150/006294150X_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "27.99", "our_price" : "7.97", "club_price" : "7.97", "savings_pct" : "71", "savings_amt" : "0.00", "club_savings_pct" : "71", "club_savings_amt" : "0.00", "discount_pct" : "10" } }
My Dark Vanessa|Russell, Kate Elizabeth
My Dark Vanessa
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Overview

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

" An exceedingly complex, inventive, resourceful examination of harm and power." --The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

"A lightning rod . . . brilliantly crafted."--The Washington Post

A most anticipated book by The New York Times - USA Today - Entertainment Weekly - Marie Claire - Elle - Harper's Bazaar - Bustle - Newsweek - New York Post - Esquire - Real Simple - The Sunday Times - The Guardian

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet na ve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.


2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager--and who professed to worship only her--may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa's present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062941503
  • ISBN-10: 006294150X
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: March 2020

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My Dark Vanessa

We’re living in a moment when predatory men are being held responsible for the power they wield against women—especially younger women. Typically we hear about it when the now-adult women discuss their abuse years later. In My Dark Vanessa, first-time novelist Kate Elizabeth Russell gives voice to a 15-year-old girl who enters into a relationship with her teacher.

Vanessa Wye is a bright but socially disconnected girl at a Northeastern boarding school. Jacob Strane, a literature teacher who is 27 years her senior, zeros in on her loneliness and grooms his young student for a sexual relationship. Vanessa’s narration switches back and forth from the early 2000s, when she is an enthralled student keeping the relationship a secret, to 2017, when a reporter from a feminist blog reaches out to her in the hopes that she’ll discuss Strane’s abuse. It turns out that Strane had other victims, and they have come forward.

Those who want to deny sexual abuse of children are quick to point out how “willing” the children seem, particularly teen girls who are “asking for it.” Russell has clearly done her psychology homework on how sexual abuse transpires. Her storytelling is particularly strong when she shows how manipulation and coercion operate, and how predators intentionally choose isolated victims whose distress is unlikely to be noticed.

Still, as both a teen and an adult, Vanessa balks at the characterization that she had no agency. She insists their love was mutual, albeit complicated, and that she tempted him into risky behavior. “I wonder how much victimhood they’d be willing to grant a girl like me,” she wonders, pondering sexually suggestive photos that Strane took of her as a teen. 

The reader is able to see heartbreaking truths that Vanessa can’t yet bear to look at, and this conflict is utterly gripping. It’s painful for the reader to view Vanessa’s experience through a more critical lens than she does, and this divide between reader and narrator will surely prompt us to ask questions about the creepy men in our own lives.

If there is a reading list for the #MeToo era, My Dark Vanessa deserves to be at the top of it.

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