My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This was a definite bookstagram suggestion purchase and I actually bought it back in the summer desperate to get in on the action. As much as I sometimes worry that the hype of books leads to a feeling of being underwhelmed, My Dark Vanessa did not disappoint and I’d definitely give it 5/5!

It tells the story of Vanessa who is now in her 30s and living through the ‘me too’ movement. Recently, there have been fresh allegations made against a teacher from her boarding school of sexual abuse and everybody keeps trying to get Vanessa to speak up. However, Vanessa knows she wasn’t abused she was in a loving relationship with Mr Strane, wasn’t she?

Russell writes so wonderfully where as a reader I was so uncomfortable with the relationship unfolding between Vanessa and her teacher in the flashbacks of her memory, but could also equally understand how it had developed and Strane successfully groomed her. It have me a whole new insight into how these things occur and how manipulative predatory adults can be; I’m presuming this is a realistic view but please correct me if I’m wrong.

The ending was a little bit ‘meh’ for me and I wish it had a better conclusion but I honestly think it’s an important read and I honestly hope that if young girls read this they may be able to acknowledge that somebody’s actions are inappropriate and to speak up. Although, I do worry a little bit that the consequences that the trauma clearer had on Vanessa might not be apparent enough for some younger readers.

If you can, pick up a copy! It is worth the hype.

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