Book –Check out Find Her by Lisa Gardner for a murder mystery you can’t put down.
For 472 days, Flora Danes was held captive in a wooden coffin. On the occasions that she was released, Flora was raped and tormented by her kidnapper. But she is a survivor. Five years later, Flora is still trying to find a sense of normalcy in her life. She has the support of her mother, and her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. But Flora is caught in the past, actively searching out other girls like her that have gone missing, dedicated to hunting down their perpetrators.
Detective D.D. Warren arrives at a crime scene where a young women was left bound, naked, yet was somehow able to kill her attacker. Because Flora is no ordinary victim. After learning of Flora’s traumatic history, Detective Warren grows suspicious of the intentions of this possible vigilante. When Flora herself ends up missing, Detective Warren must team up with the famed Samuel Keynes to find Flora against all odds.
I found Find Her to be reminiscent of author Gillian Flynn: an intense, driven thriller with a strong female lead. I thought the details of Flora’s captivity were terrifying, especially as someone who’s claustrophobic. It was an unsettling read, which for me constitutes the makings of a great murder mystery.
Book – Lacy M. Johnson shares her haunting experience with readers in The Other Side: A Memoir. Within these pages is the terrifying account of Lacy’s kidnapping and rape by her abusive ex-boyfriend. It details the events leading up to, and following her escape from the brutal imprisonment. The book begins in the middle of the night, where a beaten and bloody Lacy bangs on the door of a police station, finally free from her abuser. Lacy shares her story with startling honesty, revealing the raw, horrifying details of her kidnapping and rape.
Something I thought was simple yet very well done in the memoir was the use of anonymity. Lacy addresses no one by name instead calling the array of characters by their roles/titles, such as: The Detective, My Older Sister, My Handsome Friend, and My Good Friend. I haven’t encountered an author who does this and I think it works exceptionally well. I am curious to know why Lacy chose this method to identify her characters, perhaps to put distance between herself and the characters, or to simply give anonymity to the real people she writes about.
I also felt that this memoir was highly relevant in our society today. Violence against women is so prolific in this day and age; it’s crucial to raise awareness of the issue in order to fight against it. Lacy is one of many victims, who has bravely come forth with her story. One voice, of many, giving more women the courage to tell their own experiences. However, there are still many obstacles in the fight against violence against women. Rape Culture shows how society has normalized the occurrence of violence and rape against women. On the Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) website, rape culture is described as a “term..designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.” This view of rape as inevitable, something women deserve to happen to them still exists today, and voices like Lacy’s raise awareness to the reality of violence against women to readers.
The Other Side: A Memoir, is in no way an easy read, nor an easy story for anyone to write but Lacy’s story deserves to be heard