Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: Innocents by Cathy Coote

Description (from Goodreads):
Innocents is a taut, wickedly clever descent into the anatomy of an obsession, the debut of a precociously assured young literary voice. Forcing someone vulnerable and naive into a sexual relationship is perverted, even evil. But when the perpetrator is a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl, is she culpable? And if the victim is her thirty-four-year-old teacher, shouldn't he have known better? Unforgettable, disturbing, and morally complex, Innocents takes us on a journey into the darker side of desire. It permanently unsettles our notions of innocence, experience, and power, and suggests that we are all culpable.

My thoughts:

During the summer after reading 'A Season of Eden' I started to look for novels with a teacher-student relationship. It is one of those "forbidden" topics and I think that novels written about that are always very interesting. I have read a couple novels like that in English and also some in Finnish. 

'Innocents' was very different from the similar novels I've read before, in a good way. The story is told through a long "letter" from a 16 year old girl to her teacher. In this letter the girl, the narrator, tells the story to the reader and at the same time explain things to the teacher she is writing for. The fact that this novel addresses the reader directly through use of word "you" makes the reading experience very personal, and at point, very disturbing.

The narrator of the novel is a 16 year old girl who seduces her teacher and starts a relationship with him. She moves to live with him and eventually he stops teaching in order for them to continue the relationship. He seems to be very much in love with her; he cannot believe that a girl like her is with a man like him. She fills all his desires, but he is also worried about the fact that he might hurt her. 

Pretty early on in the novel it comes clear for the reader that everything isn't alright with the narrator. She is manipulating and plays a game with her teacher. She wants to keep him in her grip despite the fact that she does not really get out anything from the sexual relationship they have. She is sick and perverted, but still, in a way, the reader feels bad for her.

'Innocents' is a very unique novel and it definitely was a one of a kind reading experience for me. It includes some very disturbing imagenery, but at the same time, in a way, it is very beautifully written. I really recommend this one for everyone. For readers of Young Adult novels, it is a very different type of reading experience. At least, it was for me. 

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I totally understand the appeal of the "forbidden", I like it myself. It serves for an exciting read. I already have "Season of Eden" on my wishlist, so I might add this one on it too. Thanks for sharing!

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