I have somewhat mixed feelings about this book, which is a typical reaction for a memoir. Memoirists always come off as narcissistic because the stories are told from their perspective, and we all have warped ideas about our flaws, so I expected to not feel completely “warm and fuzzy” toward the author. And, really, she wasn’t that bad when it came to glorifying herself. I think that’s what made it such a hard read. Even when she felt good about herself, you could tell that her background had made her more prone to bouts of lower self-esteem. And those moments were a little trigger-y for me, so that made me feel even worse about this book.
The writing was okay. I would have considered it great if the writer weren’t a lecturer of college English classes. I expected more from her, but it was very bland and was often a bit repetitive.
I tried not to judge her personal decisions too much, but I did judge the way that she handled them with the book. I understand why she would want to give anonymity to herself, her friends, and her family. I also understand why she would have to extend that anonymity to the stalker. The problem with all of this is that changing a person’s name in a book doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you are keeping their identity secret. When she gave specific dates and details of things, specifically of the stalker’s father’s murder, that little creepy curiosity that lies within my brain had me Googling things. And within a very short amount of time, I had figured out who the stalker’s father was and, from the details she gave, who the stalker is. It was also easy to figure out the city she lived in through the majority of the book and the university that she worked at. If she was so used to living under the radar, I would hope that she would have known how to be a bit more secretive. I believe that she has been stalked and that her stalker may be continuing his torment of her, but I think that this book, as it was written, was a really bad idea. It seems to be more of something that would provoke some sort of badness in her life.
As I mentioned earlier, there were some things that were triggering. His emotional abuse of her during the relationship, as well as the events that occurred afterward, were very disturbing. There are some sexual things that “Paul” said about underage girls that were quite disgusting/disturbing. Those things alone might keep some people from reading this book, and you should know that they are in the book before you stumble across them. There are also mentions of incest and alcoholism.
Anyway, the book didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t already know about stalking. It is intriguing to read about, but I wish that she had been more emotive in the story. It almost felt like she was dissociating in some parts of the story. It’s interesting, but it isn’t really something that I think anyone must read. Basically, it doesn’t suck, but people might find it to be a decent read.