Oh dear. I have just thoroughly traumatized myself, by reading this:
It's difficult for me to parse my exact feelings about this book. It's gripping, but it's also oddly written, in a strange clumsily omniscient style wherein the narrative voice provides you with sudden unexpected access to a variety of characters thoughts, pasts, and futures. Key dramatic scenes are rendered as asides, and the pacing is…odd. It's not what one might call a great book.
What this author has, in spades, is eerie knowledge of the illogical hell that is the interior of an 11-year-old girl's mind and heart. And that is something no mother of a 10-year-old girl should ever have to witness. From the chilling first exchange, "Do you shave yet?" to the final urine-inflected horror (you'll have to read it yourself, I have the decency and innocence of the internet to protect), it all seemed so unpleasantly real, so very much like the dark haze that comes over me when I try to remember those years. I read it after dinner last night, and have been uneasily thinking about it since then. Happily, Diana appears unfazed by it: "Yeah, pretty horrible, right?" was all she said.
But it does make me wonder something that's been occurring to me ever since the hue and cry over the Gossip Girl and Clique books of a few years ago: can reading about the cut-throat social machinations of what it takes to be popular ever serve a person as a sort of "here's what to watch out for?" Or does it just provide the depraved with a road map? Or both?