Ok, so… after a recent crappy experience with a crappy male, I decided to get this book and read it as a sort of an outlet for my episode of anger and disgust towards the whole male population. ‘Cause, you know, reading books isn’t illegal.
Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.
Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.
Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.
I have my senses all together enough to not actually be a simply-minded hater who generalizes everyone based on some unfortunate experiences or stereotypes. I lived through many enough to realize that people’s minds are not all black & white. They’re full of all type of shades in between and continuously changing.
That’s why my rating for this book cannot be other than a balanced 3 stars. I did enjoy reading it, it is fast-faced and the writing is smart, the author is clearly talented. What I couldn’t put up with was the underlined tacit moral of this book: getting away with murder is okay as long as in your mind you believe it was for a good reason. I don’t believe Scarlet’s crimes are all for a good reason. I suspect the ending was supposed to leave me satisfied with the resolution of a well-made justice done by some fierce women. At best, it left me deflated and with a bitter aftertaste. I at most wished that Scarlet would go out killing some really serious criminals who go unpunished by the law instead of the common male a-holes who punch their spineless wives.
While some really bad crimes (such as a gang rape) are mentioned briefly, the males’ sins that are the main focus of the story are, in my opinion, something that shouldn’t have been punished in such an extreme. I mean, ok, I know that many men are freaks who peek on women whenever they can or who are misogynistic a-holes who’d do anything to get into your pants or steal that job opportunity that you so long wished for… but, hey, that’s exactly what women do too! Should we start killing each other because we’re far from being righteous angels..? There’s a difference between what’s immoral and what is illegal, and although this may cause a lot of trouble in cases like emotional abuse, you cannot possible expect to kill someone based solely on what you believe is good or bad. That makes everything so easily to manipulate and implicitly deeply wrong. That’s why it made me angry when the author used 2 of the smartest women characters in the story to back-up the (clearly disturbed) female serial killer: it’s as if “that’s the right thing to do” and any smart person would think the same.
There is no straight man character who’s actually portrayed as a good person, and that makes the story look very biased and way off-balance. I can’t trust a story that’s so highly biased. Feminism had been described many ways, but this type of feminism is in fact the counterpart of the male misogyny, – that sort of toxic generalization dubbed by a thirst for power, violence, control and manipulation.
Most of the characters are such overused stereotypes: the good ugly girl turned bad, the pretty girl is stupid and trivial, the gay guy is the best friend ever, popular straight guys are all a-holes.
Now let’s break down on Scarlet’s cases for a bit, to expand my point.
First, I never really get what actually happened to Allison that night. It was described as “sexual assault”, so she was never actually raped. The guy drugged her and shoved his hand into her pants. But hey, let’s rewind to what happened earlier: “I’m shaking my ass in his face every night but he doesn’t seem to notice me” plus other more references of Allison’s desperate tries to get Bash’ attention on her. Like… she wanted to get his attention on her boobs and ass so they could later on study together..? If not, then what the big-holy-F are you expecting out of a horny teenage guy to think in his little hormone-troubled brain of his..?
With her behavior and with her own expectations of people, Carly seems more righteous than the Pope or than that pastor parent of Allison! This is right and this is wrong and needs punishment. No, freak, no one needs your punishment, nor your protection. They’re all effin’ grownups and you’re no better than them. ‘Cause btw, you wanna fudge Allison too.
There is clearly a huge misunderstanding gap between males & females, but it won’t get resolved by killing one part or the other. It needs a mothereffin education, which, unfortunately, is rarely done. I often hear males saying: “I don’t understand, I thought this is what you were after!” or “girls like you know exactly what they’re doing” etc. That’s because they’re ignorant about how a female’s mind & emotions work, but hey, women are actually feeding this cycle too. We are feeding & hunting on each other’s mistakes, which is a never-ending loop. Women objectify men too, but men don’t mind because that’s not a triggering button to them, and that’s because throughout the human history males didn’t have to put up with objectification. However, females did and that’s why they’re “sensitive”. Well, it’s not about “being sensitive” but it’s rather the trigger button of danger that had been ingrained into our genes ever since the invention of those patriarchal religious doctrines. Thousands of years of abuse had left its trace, but education (and self-defense!) is the only way out.
Now, what REALLY would make Scarlet’s effort feel appreciated (by me, at least) was if she went to one of those primitive communities where girls are sold as wives at the age of 7 and raped by their uncles to prove their virginity and killed if they do not comply with it, and so on and so forth. Now, THAT would make my admiration for Scarlet boost like a rocket to the skies. Because those sort of horrible crimes never face justice, and they are indeed horrible. It’s not only “oh, the mother-effer said that I have beautiful legs” or “he touched me on my hip”, “he tried to kiss me” or “he hits me every day but I choose to stay with him because.. just because”. If you purposely shove your ass into a man’s face and then wonder why he tries to lure you into bed, then you’re plainly stupid. There’s a fine line between various aspects of life. And it’s not all black & white.
There’s a difference between real abuse and poor choices. There are cases of gang rape or hardcore abuse where the aggressors never get punished or the victims found themselves caught up in abuse that was beyond their power of choice. Now, those crimes, where the law, for whatever reason, doesn’t work, deserve retribution, though I wouldn’t go for killing unless there was a kill involved. That’s because in such cases, death would be a too easy punishment. So I’d go for something like “eye for an eye” type of justice.
However, it was never the case with the crimes that Scarlet/Carly did. Even Wes… dunno, it feels so forced! I mean, the guy grows up with Allison and for so many years of supporting her, he never pushes himself onto her, but then Carly shows up and all of a sudden he turns into an a-hole..? I mean, he wasn’t even a “monster”, he was just a typical teenager. In his mind everything made sense. The dude didn’t rape anyone, he tried to kiss her by force though, which is not ok obviously, but the girl didn’t break into pieces either. Jasper… same. Kinnear… that a-hole didn’t deserve such a death either.
You cannot possible bulletproof the whole world so that everyone can live a life without disappointments. The most we can do is to try to punish the wrongdoers enough so we can try to live in a world as free of crimes and debilitating abuse as we possibly can. Avoiding disappointment and emotional self-defense is about our own education, not about illegal punishment of any sort. We can’t go killing our parents because they’re narcissistic… Narcissism is a personality disorder, it has complex trauma at its core, and no matter how unfair may seem, people need trials in life in order to grow and expand, we can’t grow if someone fixes everything for us. So, unless we’re getting physically in danger, the rest is up to us to resolve by our own choice and strength. I don’t think you could ever free a codependent woman from domestic abuse, because she has to free herself, otherwise she’ll only end up with another abusing partner. That’s how it works, it’s not about what’s good or evil, but it’s rather plain human psychology.
I really wished Scarlet would have done all this for the right reasons. But she’s not. She’s a highly manipulative bitch and a psychopath who’s totally unaware of other people’s emotions and of her own emotions. She really reminds me of the character Joe Goldberg of the “You” series. She thinks she can go around controlling people’s lives and making choices for them, according to her own definitions of “good” and “bad”. That makes her dogmatic and toxic. She treats Wes like a puppy and when he finally has an anger outburst (because, hey, what a surprise, he’s not a 60 years old Buddhist monk), she simply kills him. She stalks on Allison and drags her to wherever she thinks it’s good for her, she doesn’t care whether Allison might perhaps have some other plan of coping with her own emotional shit and blunder. Scarlet criticizes the guys but all she wants is to get into Allison’s pants, just like any other male. She gets involved with Jasper like a hypocrite she is because whatever she does is excusable but others deserve death for pretty much the same BS. She’s using Jasper however it’s convenient to her as if she’s a demanding slave-owner, and whenever something about a man bothers her, she enters the killing-mode. Kinnear was the first to support her when young, and despite being a chronic womanizer and a typical a-hole, the guy didn’t actually do physical harm to anyone. Based on what he did, Scarlet should start on killing many women too, if she’d be consistent with her own sick judgment.
And among all those young students… there are some who get in bed with some creepy professor, while others do not. Naivety comes with a big price in life, and many of us know this by own experience. This world is not utopia where invisible angels always got our back. Either your parents educate you about the dangers of this world and about how this world works, or you educate yourself. There isn’t in fact a third option other than getting hurt. For that reason, My dark Vanessa brought me to tears because it explained the struggle and confusion of the psychological & sexual abuse so much better.
This review was written from a perspective of a female who had known abuse from both males and females, sexual and non-sexual, both physical and emotional, on all stages of life so far. So I’m familiar with the rage burning deep within the soul, the thirst for justice, the silent scream of an undeserved and lingering pain. I only came to learn that hurting people hurt and whoever manages to break the cycle gets free. Free enough to start healing and redefining own life, and when you’re being busy with your own life, then you won’t notice reasons to place & waste your energy into someone else’s life.
Gender doesn’t make anyone good or bad, character does.
Bottom line is… the book was fun to read and the author is clearly good at writing. But I felt deeply disappointed with the “morals” of the book and all the biased feminist BS, injustice, stereotypes and hatred spread all throughout. It could have been so much better. Because, to say or imply that ALL men are one way or another, or that ALL women are one way or another, then that’s…
…and it’s about time we stopped this loosing game.