Download My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth PDF and epub books free online – From My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth PDF: 2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. GET FREE AUDIOBOOK
My Dark Vanessa, Kate Elizabeth Russell’s debut novel, was published in March 2020 and soon rose to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. The novel is a psychological thriller about a 15-year-old girl who has a sexual relationship with her male English teacher. Russell has admitted that sections of the novel were influenced by her own experiences; the title is a play on Vladimir Nabokov’s poem-novel Pale Fire. This study guide is based on HarperCollins’ 4th Estate paperback edition, which was released in the United Kingdom in 2021.
Warning: This study guide contains depictions of sexual abuse and assault that are summarized and analyzed.
Summary of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth PDF
As she gets ready for work in 2017, 30-year-old Vanessa Wye updates her Facebook page over and over again. Vanessa eventually makes her way to a hotel lobby in Portland, Maine, where she works at the concierge desk. During a break, she receives a call from a man named Jacob Strane on her cell phone.
Strane states that his employer, Browick High School in Norumbega, Maine, is reopening an investigation into Strane’s relationship with Taylor Birch, a former student who has accused Strane of sexual assault. Strane commits himself a few months after this talk, unable to cope with the public exposure that comes with other accusers coming forward. Vanessa tackles the prospect that she has more in common with Taylor Birch than she is comfortable acknowledging with the help of her therapist. Strane, Vanessa’s 42-year-old English instructor, had been Vanessa’s English teacher for seventeen years. Vanessa believes that their relationship is the most meaningful, intense love affair she has ever had as an adult; yet, at the end of the story, she realizes that it was violent and that she, like Taylor Birch, was a victim of sexual assault.
The narrative alternates between occurrences in 2017 and those in Vanessa’s younger years, from 2000 to 2006. Beginning with her sophomore year at Browick, readers accompany the younger Vanessa through the rigors of boarding school life. She is a scholarship student, which adds to her sense of being an outsider, and she has trouble forming relationships with her peers and her parents. Strane, a keen observer of human nature and a seasoned predator with a fondness for young, bright, fragile female students, connects with Vanessa, a gifted poet, through literature. Vanessa gets a false sense of autonomy from his emotional openness and vulnerability, which she lacks in other parts of her life. She is, however, conflicted about Strane. Vanessa finds his age and requirements repulsive at times, but the power he wields over her is something she has never known.
Vanessa covers for Strane and leaves Browick at the conclusion of her sophomore year in shame after suspicions of her relationship with Strane surface among the Browick student community. She spends two years at her local high school before enrolling at Atlantica College, where she falls in love with her English professor, Henry Gould, a guy in his 30s. Again, Vanessa believes she can interact with Henry through books, but he is not sexually nor romantically interested in her. Vanessa is humiliated when she finds Henry does not share her affections, so she abandons her passion for writing in favor of a series of unfulfilling administrative jobs.
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Review of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth PDF
How do you write about a fictional love affair that is actually a predatory interaction between a teacher and a 15-year-old student? There are no easy answers to that question, but that is exactly what happens in My Dark Vanessa, which alternates between the years 2000 and 2017 as we see Vanessa Wye’s grooming and subsequent rape by her instructor Jacob Strane. We witness the consequences she has to face with as an adult who refuses to acknowledge that the relationship was violent. We watch how a youngster is compelled to take on responsibilities that should have been assumed by the adults in her life. The delicate and tumultuous essence of youth is nicely depicted.
This book is well-written, and the first half of the book is well-paced. The terrain, the sparseness, all contribute to a strong sense of place. The style is succinct and precise, personal and descriptive. Vanessa, the heroine, is well-developed, and the author does a fantastic job of depicting Vanessa’s struggle to come to terms with what she has gone through. Her point of view, as well as how it evolves over time, is beautifully handled and feels genuine. You can see how damaging this type of abuse is because it causes Vanessa to doubt herself, lose herself, and see herself as the problem rather than the predator. The text has an intriguing and unrelentingly claustrophobic quality to it. You want to get away from the quiet horror of Vanessa’s story, but you also want to know how it all ends and if she will be okay. You’re hoping for a breath of fresh air, but you’re not sure if you’ll get it.
Through pop culture references, Lolita, and the evocation of #MeToo, there is some interesting cultural background built. Over the next few years, I believe we will see a number of novels that attempt to distill what has been happening culturally in terms of sexual violence into fiction. There were some infuriating and inadequate responses from the individuals in Vanessa’s life, and this is all too often how these things happen.
The book is a little too long. There is a thematic recurrence after roughly 250 pages that does not suit the story effectively. Vanessa chews her face on a regular basis. Is there anything left on the inside of your mouth, girl???? Vanessa is well-developed, while the most of the other characters are underdeveloped, despite the fact that they should be. The cover isn’t my favorite. The actual issue I had with this novel was that the abuse felt glorified and eroticized at times. It made me think. As the narrative progressed, there were so many rape scenes (and I’ll always refer to it as rape because that’s what it was) that it felt… unnecessary. And I imagine that’s part of the idea, that Vanessa, especially at fifteen, was divided between love and revulsion, that she was formed into someone who would see the scenario as lovely while we, as readers, see it as horrible. Strane is unquestionably a dreadful jerk. Russell is unmistakable in his assertion. But… I’m not sure. Is she going too far?
It all made for a really unsettling read, and I believe it was intended to be so. Witnessing years of predation and sexual abuse should make your skin crawl. I’m not sure how I feel about the discomfort being created in such a lovely way. How can you create a book like this and do it well? What does it mean to be “right”? These are the kinds of questions that will occupy my mind for a long time.
In terms of the discussion surrounding this book, online conversations can be vexing. Believe it or not, I read the books I discuss in order to maintain a reasonable level of knowledge. My Dark Vanessa is a book that I have read. Wendy Ortiz’s essay, which appeared in Gay Magazine, did not accuse her of plagiarizing. It draws parallels between Ortiz’s experience described in her memoir Excavation and the scenario of this novel. Because predators are omnipresent, I’m sure anyone who has experienced this type of predation can see parallels. But that’s only a fragment of her essay’s content. What Ortiz is actually talking about is who gets to tell what types of stories based on the whims of the gatekeepers in the publishing industry. It’s an article on the frustration of repeatedly encountering locked doors to a story about your lived experience while those same doors open to a fictitious version of a similar story, and how, all too frequently, whether doors are open or closed is determined by your race or ethnicity. It’s a completely understandable annoyance, directed mostly at the publishing sector.
As a side point, it is not a demand that individuals produce fiction about sexual assault if they have a background of sexual violence; anyone who demands this is a jerk. Is it really necessary to say this?
Returning to My Dark It’s not the type of novel that’s “fun” to read, Vanessa. This isn’t a story about escaping. It’s a dark and unpleasant debut novel that’ll elicit a lot of debate and discomfort.
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?
Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
About the Author
Kate Elizabeth Russell is originally from eastern Maine. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the University of Kansas and an MFA from Indiana University. My Dark Vanessa is her first novel. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Details About My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell PDF
- Name: My Dark Vanessa
- Author: Kate Elizabeth Russell
- ISBN: 978-0062978721
- Language: English
- Genre: Mothers & Children Fiction, Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction
- Format: PDF/ePub
- Size: 1 MB
- Page: 576
- Price: Free
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