Pretty Girl Thirteen
Reviewed: 2018-01-25Angie Chapman is only 13 when she gets lost in the woods in the middle of the night. The next thing she knows she’s returned home, scars around her wrists and ankles, physically exhausted. Her parents collapse into tears when they see her, but Angie doesn’t understand – until they tell her she has been missing, presumed dead, for three years. Angie doesn’t remember anything from her missing years. But there are people who do – people who could tell Angie every terrifying detail, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With help, Angie begins to unravel the darkest secrets of her own past. But does she really want to know the truth?
I would like to warn at the start that this is a very intense book, and probably not for the faint-hearted. This psychological thriller involves unraveling the mystery of Angie's amnesia over her disappearance three years ago. When she comes back, she doesn't even remember those three years going by - it is like she wasn't even there in her body. Due to the trauma, her mind splits into alters that can cope with the situation, essentially meaning she has no memories of that time. But when those alters want to speak up, and let her know what really happened, she isn't sure she wants to know what happened. An important thing to be understood here is that she is already confused from the loss of three years of her life, and the repercussions it is having now - her parents are wrought with guilt and grief and she can't subject them to the true horror of her situation either. She tries to keep herself away from it, too, but when it starts taking over her life, she decides to deal with it. There is a lot of damage done to her, and I was horrified through so many parts of the book; the necessity and personalities of those alters was haunting. The writing is realistic and brutal; it is like you are there, and yes, that was disturbing. For once, I was actually dreading that I could catch the clues, because the coming horror was upsetting. I would like to warn that the book has strong themes of sexual abuse, for those out there whom this would be trigger. The therapy, itself - the science of it seemed well put together, and the journey towards her unification presented in an organic way; I doubt that it would be this quick, though. As a whole, this book had brilliant writing and handled such a mature subject well.
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