Donna is 22 and on at face value seems to have it all… literally. If being a child star and model isn’t enough, she’s gone to university, got a first class degree in maths and is now working as an Analyst in a successful company. She’s even engaged. Yes, Donna seems to have it all – incredible beauty, brains, a blossoming career and a stable home life.
But things aren’t always what they seem and the veneer of success is stripped away violently when she is assaulted and raped on her way home from work. We follow her journey and descent into anxiety and depression as she attempts to piece her life back together in the face of what could arguably be described as a complete lack of understanding by her frustrated partner and her parents who, at a total loss of what to do, just want to “fix” her. Just when she hits rock bottom, Donna finds friendship from a rather unusual place, but she quickly discovers that not everyone has the best of intentions. Without giving much away I think one scene is dealt with remarkably well (all I’m saying is “hair”…. I’m sure many of us have felt like doing something similar on occasion).
Approximately, the first half of the book centres on the immediate events following Donna’s attack and her reactions to the people around her – she is frustrated, angry and paranoid. Whether it was the author’s intention or not, everything she thinks is around the rape and very little happens in the way of activity, but that’s exactly how it is when you are recovering from a trauma – it consumes everything.
It’s not until the end of the book that the suspense really ramps up – that’s when the gnawing feeling that something else bad is going to happen starts. In some ways, I’d have liked this phase of the story to have been developed further as I thought the writing and character development were really strong – I wanted more! That said, this would have meant the work ended up as primarily a suspense thriller. That definitely would have worked (and as fan of the psychological thriller I’m biased) but I suspect that the author’s primary objective was to describe the effects of violent crime within the broad framework of the genre, and I thought that he achieved that rather well.