MONDAY, 2 August 2021
00.13 – What better time to start a reading diary than just after midnight?! I am hoping to get a chunk of reading done today/tomorrow, whichever I wanna call it – when I wake up! So, I thought a reading diary would be in order. This is also partly because of the book of I am reading at the moment.
On my Kindle I am reading My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell and man, do I have thoughts! I am about 100 pages in and although the read itself is not that hard, the subject matter is so, I don’t know, difficult? Tricky? Scary? I don’t even know how to describe it. Going in I had an idea what it was about, but the reviews had been so good, I thought I would read it anyway. It is about a young girl, 15/16, being groomed by her much older teacher. It’s weird to read it from her perspective and to see what she is thinking.
You get a glimpse at the girl at 32 and how she looks back at what happened to her. It’s painful, it’s worrying, it’s frustrating, but to be honest I feel very strange reading about her experiences as a young girl feeling flattered by the attentions of this adult man. It almost feels normal and that is the scary bit. It feels like a very important read, but I feel very icky about it.
I am impressed by the way the author manages to write sex scenes between this older man and this young girl without it feeling sensationalist or overly sexual. Vanessa’s point of view is strangely innocent and also quite clinical at the moment, which helps. But yes, icky, I feel icky reading it.
Anyway, it’s late. I’m going to bed, so I fill you in tomorrow when I have read some more.
08.27 – Good morning! I am about to have breakfast and I will start reading shortly after, I was thinking about this book and whether I am enjoying it. I don’t think this feels like the kind of book that you enjoy. It makes me feel appalled to be honest, and yet, it’s weirdly gripping and it does feel important. I haven’t looked up anything about the author. I wonder whether she wrote from experience or whether she talked to other people who had this experience, as it feels quite authentic.
Anyway, I will watch a YouTube video or two whilst having my morning coffee and breakfast. It’s a nice day, so I will be spending some time outside. We’ll see how much reading I will get done.
11.27 – I read about 30 pages so far. Not a lot, but after that I felt like I needed a break and ended up playing a bit of Animal Crossing. It’s nice to have a quiet day. I’m refusing to do chores right now 😂. Anyway, I will read a bit more until lunchtime. It’s a well-written novel, but it is leaving we with a rather nasty taste in the mouth, so I am not sure how I am feeling about it.
14.17 – I got aI got a good chunk of reading in since lunch, so I will take a break and take my daughter to go see her grandparents for a bit. I am still very much on the fence with this book. I admire what the author is doing, but I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I get it, and I think Vanessa’s dilemma is well fleshed out, but do I feel like I know Vanessa herself? No. And that feels weird. It’s like I am in girl’s head, who has no personality to speak of. Maybe that’s the whole point, that she has no life apart from the one she things she has with him. I am not sure. Maybe apart from the obvious that makes me feel extra uncomfortable. Right now, 60% into th ebook, I think I will make a prediction that I end up saying that I appreciate this book, but that it was not for me, because it is not right now. I read to relax and this book does not make me feel relaxed. It makes me feel icky and anxious. I should have known that before i started it due to the subject matter, but I guess I was curious.
20.52 – No reading since my earlier update. After a visit to my mum and dinner we have been enjoying the nice evening outside. I hope to get a bit more reading in tonight. Is it bad I want to get this book over and done with to move on to a book I will actually have fun reading? And yet, it’s definitely a good read. I just feel conflicted.
23.19 – Currently at 70%, page 259. I think I have about 100 pages still to go. I will read a bit more and hopefully finish it tomorrow, even if Tuesdays are usually my busiest day. I am not sure how many pages I read today. I try not to keep count anymore. Well over a hundred. That’s all I know and that is good going for me at this moment in time. That goes to show that I am picking the book up and I am intrigued by it and I want to read it, but it just makes me feel a bit unpleasant when I do. I still don’t understand Vanessa. I mean, maybe I understood why it started, but adult Vanessa and the older teen Vanessa I find harder to understand the choices she is making. But then that made me think about trauma and abuse and I know I have been lucky I have not experienced anything to this level, so maybe it is a good thing that I do not understand her. Like many I have been a victim to some sort of abuse, just not this type or to this level, but I do remember how I felt and reacted, which was very different from the way Vanessa feels. But then people are different and mine was nowhere near as serious as what is going in the book. Not that I am belittling what I went through, but at least I was an adult. As you can tell, this novel makes me think a lot about what the brain does with abuse, any kind of abuse, but this kind in particular. I praise the book for addressing the subject and to make the reader think. I am just not sure I want to… Does that make sense? Anyway, I am in too deep, so let’s see what happens in the final third of this book.
I will read a bit more and do a final update in the morning.
TUESDAY, 3 August 2021
09.18 – Just my final thoughts as I am getting to the final fifth of this novel. I think it was useful for me to do this diary whilst reading this particular book. I think I have said enough about how uncomfortable it makes me feel. Coming towards the end that hasn’t changed. In fact, it makes my skin crawl. Yet, the writing is really good, so I am still not sure how I will end up rating this. It’s a hard one for me.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?