My Dark Vanessa

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My Dark Vanessa audiobook – Audience Reviews


Review #1

My Dark Vanessa full audiobook free


I found this a haunting and unsettling book. The story of Vanessa Wye weaves back and forth in time. From 2001, when she was 15 than fast forward to 2017, where she is an aimless and lonely adult. Vanessa is groomed by her English teacher, Jacob Strane, while a 15 year old scholarship student at a Maine boarding school. Strane is the worst kind of predator. He effectively destroys Vanessa on so many levels . She never recovers from the abuse, and her worldview is forever tainted, tilted and damaged
I also wonder if authors these days realize that conservatives buy books. Conservative minded people read books. This novel was peppered with snarky comments. “conservative trolls”…. “We laugh along with Jon Stewart, cringe when George W Bush comes on-screen” “I can’t believe he stole the election” I say. “They all steal elections”, Mom says “It’s just not so bad when a Democrat does it” Really? There was much more of these type of exchanges that added little value to the book.


Review #2

My Dark Vanessa audiobook full streamming online


Vanessa Wye could never be called a typical teenager. Shes wickedly intelligent, disorganized to a fault and prefers books to boys any day of the week. She also feels forsaken by almost everyone in her life.

The only time that she feels truly seen is in Mr. Stranes American Lit class. He speaks to her as if shes a peer – not as if shes just a child. He understands her on a level that no one else does. And its the most intoxicating experience shes ever known.

The repercussions of their forbidden relationship will bleed into every aspect of her life for years to come. Until the day when a single Facebook post shatters the illusion of the love that has come to define her.

My Dark Vanessa is by far my favourite book so far this year! With her hypnotic debut, Kate Elizabeth Russell weaves a tale that is as disturbing as it is soulful. She made it so easy for me to relate to Vanessa on a very genuine level. I felt her isolation, her complexity and her turmoil as if it were my own. With every layer of her character that was peeled back, a more tender layer was revealed. I saw her as a fragile warrior struggling to hold together all of her jagged pieces. And her strength was awe-inspiring.

This book clearly isnt going to be for everyone. But for those who can look into the shadows and still see light, this is story that you will never forget


Review #3

My Dark Vanessa audiobook by Kate Elizabeth Russell


the prose is stunning. it truly knocks the wind out of you how something can be phrased so simply, so light, and yet send your entire day reeling. i wanted to fall into this book. i wanted to stop reading when it nauseated me. i wanted to call in sick to work and finish in one sitting. i didn’t want it to end. the last words in this complex, exquisite story made me immediately burst into tears.

there was not a single moment where i wished for more detail about a different character. the story is vanessa’s and hers alone. we see it through her eyes. for better or for worse, we are in it with her. we see what she saw, what she remembered of those (besides strane) who made a deep enough mark on her to leave an impression. the details given about other characters are minute, carefully chosen. they paint sincere details that provide shocking depth to minor characters that don’t require much to serve their purpose in the novel, their purpose to vanessa.

it was not too long. it did not feel repetitive or have a lull. this story consumed over fifteen years of vanessa’s life. she struggled with what happened in a confusing, messed up, imperfect way. for better for for worse, we went on that ride with her. we’re taken through such an intimate, painful, sometimes borderline thrilling journey, and russell does a beautiful job grappling with the myriad of feelings you may experience as a victim. was it my fault? did i ask for it? did i deserve it? if i’m being blamed, could it have been even a little bit me? if it was me, was it because i liked it? because i wanted it? will i make it out alive?

if you’ve made it here after the ort*z essay, please call to mind ort*z’s initial point: racism and glass ceilings in the publishing industry are a disgusting, rampant problem. yes, perhaps other books discussing abuse may not have gotten the same hype MDV received. that, in part, may be due to a white woman telling this story. that is certainly an issue. we can’t package abuse to be palatable if it is coming from the “right” place, the place we feel is most accessible, relatable, marketable. what is a bigger issue is the conversation of a plagiarism that did not happen eclipsing a stunning debut that will surely stick with you as long as you have memories to grasp. it’s a bigger issue to force a survivor to out themselves to attain some sort of depraved credibility because you assumed she couldn’t write her version of an abuse narrative. it’s an issue to hide when you’re in the wrong and refocus the conversation because you don’t feel like facing the blowup it causes. take ownership.

several times when i read this book, i needed to put it down and stare into middle distance to really digest what i’d read. i’m glad i kept coming back. i had to. it was a like having a warm blanket wrapped around your shoulders after hearing horrible news. it was so inviting and wonderful while turning your gut in revulsion.

i hope you pick up a copy. i hope you read it when you’re ready. i hope you find empathy. i hope you find healing. i hope we get more from russell soon, but if fifteen years is what it takes to bring something else crafted as precariously as my dark vanessa, i’ll see you in 2035.


Review #4

My Dark Vanessa audio narrated by Grace Gummer


My Dark Vanessa is the harrowing tale of fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wyes relationship with her forty-five-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, and the lasting impact it has on her life. It also examines themes of consent, coercion and manipulation, and asks what is it that makes someone a victim. It also forces the reader to look at their own preconceptions and the prejudices that are often found when these situations come to light.

The story is told from Vanessas perspective, both as an adult and teenager. In both timelines she is under Stranes spell and believes it was a great love affair rather than abuse. But when another of Stranes former students claims he abused her, Vanessa is forced to reconsider if it was really love and whether she was a willing participant in a loving relationship or a victim of abuse.

Kate Elizabeth Russell has written a novel that is powerful, compelling, timely and thought-provoking. Eighteen years in the making, it feels like this story has come at the perfect time with the rise of the #MeToo movement and the increasing number of victims who are finding the strength to vocalise their experiences. She addresses the nuances of this movement, the pressure put on victims to come forward even if they arent ready, and the way the tide can turn so quickly in how they are portrayed.

This isnt an easy read. The book contained some graphic, nauseating and unsettling scenes of what I consider to be abuse and a number of times I had to put down the book and stop reading for a while. After one particularly distressing scene, I was left feeling utterly broken with tears running down my face. At these times I was especially glad that I was reading this as a buddy read as I was able to talk through my feelings with my reading buddy.

It has been said that Vanessa is an unlikeable character, and its true, shes not particularly warm or bubbly, but I think the decision to make her so complex made the story all the more compelling and real. Victims of any kind of abuse often dont see what is happening for a long time, if at all, and Vanessa wouldnt have begun her affair with Strane if it had been obvious to her. Reading her desperation to be noticed and loved by him as she was unwittingly groomed was heartbreaking. In her adult years we see the immense damage he has done to her psyche, her unwillingness to see the truth and tear down the house of straw shes built in her mind and heart. I couldnt help but wonder if she would ever be able to heal.

The real unlikeable character was the manipulative, predatory, and vile Strane. But even he has layers to his character and has an awareness that what he wants and does is wrong. He tells himself its true love, that they are soulmates, that she is in control and sets himself boundaries. These are all designed to negate the wrong he is doing and reassure himself that he cant help it and that he is being good. The tragic part about Strane is that I think he truly believes these things; even when hes saying the most awful things to scare her into complying or saying it to another girl, I think in his mind its actually all true. This made him someone I detested but also, as much as it pains me to say this, pitied very slightly. He was a sad and pathetic man but also a loathsome predator and there were so many times I wanted to reach into the book and do him actual physical harm for what he did to Vanessa.

My Dark Vanessa is the most dark and disturbing fiction book I have ever read. But it is also a well-written story that offers an insight on the intricacies of the dynamic between an abuser and their victim and on the #MeToo movement, filled with characters, situations and emotions that many will recognise. Just be prepared for a distressing read.


Review #5

free audio My Dark Vanessa – in the audio player below


Very disappointed with this book, most of it is a lot of uncomfortable flashbacks to a child being groomed and sexually abused and gaslit, and not in a thought provoking way or a way that gets justified, but just overly detailed descriptions of a horrible abusive life.




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    1 thought on “My Dark Vanessa”

    1. I just finished listening to MY DARK VANESSA and immediately grabbed a used copy from ebay. I love listening to audio books but still prefer reading. At this time in my life I am having trouble with my eyesight so reading is not something I can do and audio books have saved my sanity. This book is such an important book (imho) and needs to be read and most certainly discussed. EVERY woman who reads this book will somehow relate to it. I believe it is hard to find a woman anywhere in the world today that has not been victimized in someway or other. (Especially young girls) The writing is fantastic and the author doesn’t pull any punches. I would warn those who have have PTSD due to any sex crime to beware before taking this book on. It is not a fun read. It was for me, very difficult to listen to and I almost think would be harder to actually read it. I think there are enough reviews and so much hype about this book it shouldn’t be difficult to decide whether or not you want to listen to it. I disagreed with review #5 as the entire point of the book is to shine a bright light on what has for far too long been hidden in the dark. The true evil in this book (again, in my humble opinion) was how so many institutions from ivy league collages to corporations etc etc are truly those who should be shamed and held accountable. There is nothing new when it comes to the subject matter of this book, The difference and brilliance for me was how truthful and thought provoking it was. I would love to see this book in every school curriculum (as if) It is such an important book for BOTH young woman AND men to know about the subject matter and can learn so much from reading this book. Hopefully it will save lives. Hopefully it will educate. Hopefully women will be believed when they do speak out and speak out we must. Our children’s lives are at stake. This is a heart breaking story but not hopeless. For the countless who have suffered through similar, don’t give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. YOU just have to know it is there – Search out help and do whatever it takes to heal the wounds. They can heal. A huge thanks to Kate Elizabeth Russell for writing such an important book. Shame on Oprah for dropping this one.

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