Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum:

This is one story you will never forget. I include Jack Ketchum’s book and the 2007 movie adaptation here. Inspired by the true murder case of Sylvia Likens, sadistically tortured by her guardian, Gertrude Baniszewski, her sons and a group of the neighbourhood kids. Sylvia Likens finally died of brain swelling and shock, aged just 16, in 1965. It’s a heart-breaking read. Not a book to be enjoyed, but one that I hope provokes discussion on the root causes of bullying, “pack behavior” among people who target an individual for persecution, and the problem of psychopaths and sociopaths in society who act with no sense of conscience for the suffering they cause others. In this case, these factors ran to the extreme. There are no happy endings. No “white knight” saving the day. Only insanity, cruelty, tragedy and death.

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