“My Dark Vanessa” by Kate Elizabeth Russell is a gripping and emotionally charged novel that delves into the complexities of an illegal relationship between a teenage girl, Vanessa, and her English teacher, Jacob Strane. The story is very uncomfortable to read and makes the reader shiver at times. Vanessa gets manipulated and groomed and is therefore quite traumatized, which is worth a trigger warning at this point.
Russell’s writing is graphic and skillfully captures the internal struggles of Vanessa as she battles with the blurred lines of what is okay and what is not. The novel is a good representation of societal perceptions of abuse and victim-blaming.
The subjects are very intense and, well…dark. Although the author does not hold back on details, there is a certain sensitivity and huge respect in what he wrote.
My dark Vanessa is absolutely worth reading. It makes one reflect on and think about the whole story for days.
As I mentioned, it is a great book, and I do highly recommend it, but it is not easy to digest and may trigger some readers.