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Customer Review

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And you thought YOUR family was hellish!!!, 8 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Girl Next Door (Hardcover)
For several years now I've been trying to help some people who were abused by their parents (sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical violence, addictions) back in the 1960's and 1970's. So I was drawn to this book, compelled to read it, despite knowing that it would cause me pain!
There are important parts of this book which are searing because they are quite true, not just for Meg but for many abused children: being kept isolated, being taught to never talk to police or anyone who might help, then taking the risks of breaking those rules and having the friend/relative/teacher/counselor/police NOT believe you because "he's such a nice man he'd NEVER do anything like that!". And then getting punished again and again and again.
Another piece that's powerful because of its truth is the lifelong damage it does to David, the narrator, just becaue he witnessed parts of it close at hand. There is a powerful psychological truth in the overwhelming guilt and pain he feels for not doing more, for not doing enough, for failing to rescue. And in how later in life he is drawn to other women who were victims, who need rescuing.
Another important truth that was not recognized is that even his smallest actions to comfort Meg, to help her near the end, were accepted, were needed, as the only acts of kindness anyone had given her in a very long time. This memory is his only salvation.
An important lesson that must be taken from this book is how people who choose to be evil love to force everyone around them to participate in their evil. They need to force those around them to be evil just like themselves. Perhaps they do it only to perpetuate the cycle of evil, to force their crimes, their attitudes, onto the next generation.
What really scares me, is that somewhere out there is a family of morons who will imitate what's in this book. Please keep the book expensive just to keep it away from children.
Let me also recommend other books: in fiction, any of the Flood series by Andrew Vachss; in nonfiction, Scott Peck's "The People of the Lie".
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