Review: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

girlnextdoorThis book is EASILY the most disturbing work of fiction I have ever read. I heard about this book from a “Top 10 Horror Novel” list that I googled sometime around Halloween. What makes this book particularly horrifying is it doesn’t feature vampires, monsters, possessed dolls or zombies rising from their graves.

It features the cruelty and abuse of a young girl, done by her aunt and cousins.

Meg has done nothing wrong, except be born female. She and her sister, Susan, come to live with aunt Ruth after both their parents are killed in a car accident. The accident has left Meg with a scar and Susan with broken bones which don’t heal properly.

Ruth comes to resent the girls’ presence fairly quickly, and, as she only has boy children, feels it appropriate to “educate” Meg on how women are filth and that what is between a woman’s legs is nothing but trouble. It starts with some mild physical abuse and skyrockets to full on torture. And what’s worse – the kids are in on it.

Davy, who lives next door and who was, up until the beatings begin, friends with the boys in the house, feels trapped and helpless as he watches this sick scene unfold. On one hand, he knows it’s wrong and he wants to help Meg. But on the other hand, he is observing something unlike he has ever seen, and he’s transfixed in its vileness.

This book may literally make you sick while reading it. To think that someone could be this twisted and screwed up in the head to do this to a little girl … it’s not a good thought. But what makes this book scary is that this COULD happen. There could be children enduring abuse similar to this, their bodies and spirits broken.

Horror fans may want to check this out, but just prepare yourself.


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