Book title – My Dark Vanessa by kate Elizabeth Russell
“Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it?”
And that is the journey the reader takes with the protagonist, Vanessa. A long, gut-wrenching, with moments of complete numbness followed by revelations hard to overlook. The author, Kate Elizabeth Russell has a real and honest style of writing. Nothing is sugar-coated. The book starts with the allegations against a school teacher at a boarding school and that in itself is a disturbing thought. The story moves between two worlds. One taking us through the life of Vanessa from when she was 15 years old to when she turns 23. The other world is the present where she can no longer ignore the allegations or her past.
Vanessa’s heart and mind are saying one thing but she is telling herself another thing. All through the story, you can feel the pain and confusion of the 15 years old girl even when she is a grown woman. Because that was her whole life. Everything before and after, has in a way lost its relevance. In the course of growing up with the trauma, her mind has played so many games that she is unsure of what is real? And that feeling is so relatable. We all experience such moments at some point in our lives, when it is hard to differentiate between ‘did that really happen like that?’ or ‘was it all my imagination?’
No, I am not putting myself in Vanessa’s shoes. But we all share a common bond over our past traumas, be that anything. No trauma is small or irrelevant. In the unavoidable journey of growing up, traumas are certain as well. And this book talks about that too, very clearly. How we knowingly belittle another person’s recovery just because their trauma does not check out all the “required” boxes.
The end of the book left me at peace and hope. Past is real, none of us can shut our eyes to its existence. But today is real as well. You are here and relevant, and that is all that matters.
I give the book 5 stars. And look forward to reading many more by the author.
Scribbles in dedication to the book.
Light is fading, so are my memories.
First kiss, first touch,
Irrelevant to you, now I know.
Not too far, not too close.
Darkness is comforting,
Cold breeze blankets me
As I leave you behind.
Apology I do not expect,
Yet my heart seeks.