Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: Alexis

I find it difficult to review memoirs - partly because my typical rubric doesn't work, and partly because it seems so very rude to "review" someone's very personal experience. At the same time, however, this is still a book I most definitely have things to say about. Part of the Louder Than Words series (which are memoirs written by teenage girls), this book is the story of Alexis, an adolescent who finds herself the victim of an online predator. The tag line - "MY TRUE STORY of Being Seduced by an Online Predator" tells you everything you need to know before opening the book.

Alexis tells her story in a very straight-forward manner, writing of how she came to be friends - and then seemingly more - with an online acquaintance who was twenty years older than her (and married). As a reader we know, of course, that this "friendship" is so horribly wrong omg from the beginning, but the honesty of Alexis' emotions and the naivete of her thinking allows us to go along with it while also reminding us, constantly, that this is real. The writing here is okay, not exceptional, but it's Alexis situation that really keeps the reader hooked into the story - it's so horrible that it kept me reading, cringing, and hoping that Alexis would come out okay in the end.

As this is a book specifically about online predators, it's very much an "issue book," and this becomes glaringly obvious in the last couple of chapters, when the message is hammered home so much that it felt like a, "...and the moral of the story is..." which I have mixed feelings about. In a novel it would have been annoying and I'd have felt robbed of part of the story, but in a memoir like this it was obvious that the message was there not only because of the subject matter but also because it's such a personal story for the author. One thing I did find myself wishing the book had more of is dialogue, which is always tricky in a memoir but without it sometimes the book felt like an extremely long personal essay... which wasn't exactly a bad thing. If you're interested in the subject matter, I definitely recommend this one.

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