Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Stolen (A letter to my captor) by Lucy Christopher
For once, I think I've been rendered nearly speechless about a book. Stolen by Lucy Christopher is an extraordinary and good book, but I'm really unsure how I feel about it.
Stolen is about a 16 year old English girl named Gemma Toombs. While in an airport (traveling with her parents) Gemma is drugged and Kidnapped by Tyler "Ty" M, who has been watching her since she was 10. Ty absconds with Gemma to the middle of Austraila in what amounts to a deserted wasteland full of hidden dangers. Where he not only expects her to stay for the rest of her life, but needs her to love him.
The novel is grounded heavily in reality, aside from 2 or 3 pretty unbelievable notions/moments. Which is odd for me since I don't really like non supernatural stories.
The style is odd though. It's written like a letter, using "You" and "me" more often than names. Gemma is documenting a story, but one only she and her captor can really understand. It is safe to say that after a very long time and many escape attempts, Gemma begins to identify with Ty. She begins to like him, worry about him, care for him. It isn't very hard to do, Ty is early to mid-twenties, has a hot body and promises to never hurt Gemma. When I read it, I had to keep reminding myself that he was a kidnapper who had stolen a girl from the airport. Yet, the thought didn't stop me from liking him. I didn't want to, it just happened.
Saying he's the bad guy now, it seems like a misnomer. Yes, he's a criminal, he committed a crime and needs to pay for it. Though I'm starting to think he never was the bad guy. He opens Gemma up to a completely different world which holds onto life tenaciously, but with a delicate grasp. Because of him, she develops a little love and understanding for the earth, for all it can give. Somehow, that just does not make him a bad person to me, but one desperate for "his girl" to understand him.
Also, calling Gemma a Stockholm Syndrome victim is truly a misjudgment. Maybe labeling it like that makes it easier for others to understand, but I don't think it's right. She fell in an odd kind of love with a man who protected her and tried to rescue her (in a horrible way). Believe it or not, his heart was in the right place, his actions were not. I mean how is it any different than a book where everyone in the world has died except for 2 people? Ty could have lied and said the nuclear holocaust had come, Gemma might have even believed him. They would have fallen in love, had kids and tried to be happy in their home. Then, no reader would call her a victim, but a girl who fell in love with an odd man who saved her life. Strange how one lie could change your entire perspective on everything in the book.
Stolen is an interesting book for sure, but some of it was long, involved and tedious. There isn't that much for characters to do in the dessert aside from catching feral female camels. The descriptions and wording were very poetic, pretty and vivid. They were kind of like mini flourishes, ultimately probably not needed, but super lovely to look at.
Overall, Stolen was a beautiful and tragic love story. But not between Gemma and Ty, oh no. It was between a man and his earth, which he had devoted his life to trying to understand and cherish. He tried to let someone into that world, where every part of nature is something to be in awe of. She just couldn't make it there, not even when she wanted to.
(Only people I would not recommend this to is anyone under 13. People who absolutely hate nature. Or, people who are trying to get over trauma involving a kidnapping or Stockholm Syndrome, unless they are absolutely certain they can handle it.)
Teaser Lines: "You wrapped your warm arms, and the blankets, around me, cocooning me in a snug darkness. I thought of the moth I'd caught in my hand: safe, yet trapped, in the dark of my fingers."
-My Summer Girl
Stolen website: (need to scroll down) Stolen
Book Trailer: Stolen Trailer
You can reach Lucy Christopher on her Website, Twitter,or Diary