Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Stolen: A Letter to my Captor is the story of a girl kidnapped and whisked away to the Australian desert by a beautiful blue-eyed stranger. The book is well written in beautiful poetic prose. It's slow and thoughtful. It took me awhile to decide on the rating because I felt that it's both intriguing and flawed. After nearly a week of mulling I settled on three stars. This isn't a book that I regret reading, but it's a book that makes me nervous.
In a way this book almost romanticized Gemma's kidnapping. Ty thinks he's saving her, taking her away from the big mean city. The problem is that Gemma somewhat believes him. Some think it's an interesting look on Stockholms Syndrome. I, however, think it might be an attempt at that but it falls short.
The book fails to show the horrors of the kidnapping. Ty is overall too nice and too gentle with Gemma. He drugs her, kidnaps her, then drags her across the dessert in the trunk of a car. But all of that is told in retrospect from Ty himself. Gemma has no memory of the actual kidnapping. From the point where Gemma starts remembering, Ty doesn't do anything particularly cruel. Instead he takes care of her and continues to rescue her whenever her escape attempts fail. It makes escaping seem futile, like Gemma should just accept her role as a kidnapped victim.
In fact, Gemma doesn't ever save herself. In the end, Ty becomes the hero of this novel. I feel like the book tries to pretend Gemma is a strong character, she does try to escape more than once, but causing her to fail every time undermines that. She's a constant victim and needs Ty to survive.
That feels dangerous to me. I'm not saying that this book is going to make girls get kidnapped or behave differently if kidnapped. But I just don't like what it implies--that kidnappers aren't always monsters. It takes away from the evil of what Ty did and takes away from what so many girls have gone through. Even though this book is well written and interesting, I can't say that I'm okay with what it's portraying.