Published by William Morrow on September 1st 2010
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Like others I thought the book was okay. It had the potential to be so much better but it just fell short for me. The story and plot could have been so much better. I wanted more and got less. We are told that Walter is good looking but ultimately turned people off to him. I wanted to know more about that. Was it his affect? Did he speak in a monotone? Was it how he looked at people? Did he just have that vibe that made the hairs on the back of people’s neck stand up? Was he quiet? I love the nuances of people. I wanted more details about him. I wanted to know what people thought when they saw him. I also wanted more of the crimes- I know morbid but it is what I do/did for a living. Did he just start committing crimes or had he injured animals as a child? Was he a bully? Those things in his background would have been interesting to me but the book was About Eliza. So the Author should have given us more about her. About her healing process. How she was able to move on to the degree that she did. Did she always just exist? Some people do- that is their personality. Or did she exist as a result of the kidnapping and rape when she was 15. How did that horrific time change her life? How did she move on to have a normal relationship with a man. She learned to trust, to love, why not learn to do more? Also, I wanted her to delve more into why she would take a phone call from Walter. Why even talk to him. What was her thought process. She gives an explanation but I wanted more. I wish there was more about what motivated her.
Something about Walter’s character just felt flat to me. I did want more of his mindset. He was good at getting girls in his truck. He was sophisticated enough to pull that off. I think his approach would only work on naive teens/young girls with not much life experience and not grown women with more experience with men. As the Author does point out that he does turn women off. He is emotionally immature and lacking in social skills. He does see the girls as being more on his level than grown women. But when they fail to do what he wants, when he begins to lose control of the situation – that is when he kills.
I also wanted more of Vonnie and Iso. I didn’t think that either one was particularly nice to Eliza. I wish Eliza would have stood up more to both of them – especially her daughter and not just make excuses for her daughter- that she is a teen so that is why she is being disrespectful. Eliza did just exist – I think this is why Walter did not kill her. Plus she did fit more into how he felt a woman should behave. He had not read the book at the time he kidnapped her but she seemed to fit what he found to be acceptable. She did not challenge him. She did not put up a fight. I am not judging her behavior in the least but I do believe that it what keeps many victims alive. I was happy at the end when she did stick up to Walter and said many times that he raped her when he called what he did Sex. He seems to have gotten smarter and more manipulative in prison. But most criminals do. This book, like Eliza, just existed. I thought for a brief point at the end that things were going to get interesting when Walter pointed out that he did not kill the last girl and the Eliza knew that. I was wondering if repressed memories would come out or was he again trying to manipulate and bully her into changing her story. That might have made the book better. I also thought that he had raped the other victims but he said he did not. That he could not. I found this interesting.
Sorry for the length of this. I wish the book was better.