My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Vanessa was a fifteen-year old aspiring poet when she met him at boarding school. Mr. Strane was twenty-seven years older but he understood her, he loved her, and she loved him. She was willing to do anything for him and even now, almost two decades later she is still protecting him. Recently a woman has accused Strane of abusing her while she was his student years before and other girls are coming forward with accusations from the years since Vanessa left the school. But Vanessa can’t join these girls and women because she knows there is a distinct difference between them. Vanessa knows she wasn’t a victim. She sees herself as a willing romantic partner who always gave consent. They were a couple in love; that’s what she needs to believe.
This is not an easy book to read but it really delves into the psyche of this young girl and woman since it is told from her point of view both in 2000 and 2017. The grooming process and manipulation can be seen by an adult reader for what they are but seen through her fifteen-year-old eyes you can almost understand the flattery she feels and how it’s also laced with disgust. This man not only took her childhood but shaped her entire life so far; her relationships are always under his shadow and her talent is hidden behind drugs and drinking.
A terribly relevant book, a gripping read and I’m happy to say one with a hopeful ending.