Living Dead Girl
by Elizabeth Scott
- Pages: 170
- ISBN: 1416960600
- Link: Goodreads
- Format: Paperback
- Published on: September 8th 2009 (first published September 2nd 2008)
- Published by: Simon Pulse
Trigger warning: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott deals with rape and sexual abuse as does the content of the below post.
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away. Alice is now fifteen and fears that Ray will kill her; he is growing tired of her, she’s too old. After five years of sexual abuse, Alice is only a shell of the person she once was. Maybe death wouldn’t be such a bad thing, she thinks. Elizabeth Scott’s Living Dead Girl is Alice’s story of survival and how she helps Ray find her “replacement” so that she can be free.
If that sounds like a disturbing premise for a book, it is. I first heard about Living Dead Girl through Bitch Magazine’s 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader and the ensuing shit storm when Scott’s novel, along with two others, were pulled from the list. I’m not going to lie: it was all this drama that made me curious about Scott’s book.
As I’ve already written, different people have different ideas about what novels are feminist and what aren’t. People interpret books in different ways, there’s no single “right” way. I’m still on the fence about the criteria I’d use to determine whether I think a book is feminist or not. I will, however, say this: I don’t think victim blaming is a feminist thing to do. So I was glad to see the way victim blaming was handled in Living Dead Girl. There is a scene in which Alice Is watching talk shows on television. These talk shows featured guests who were victims of sexual abuse/assault; in typical victim blaming fashion, guests were asked why they never said anything or did anything to fight back. Alice, however, takes the stance that it’s not that simple – Alice has been conditioned to fear what will happen if she says anything. Ultimately, though, Alice does fight back, even in a small way.
Is Living Dead Girl a feminist novel? I’m not sure, but I can tell you that Elizabeth Scott wrote one of the most disturbing novels I’ve ever read.