Don’t get me wrong, the author has a gift of words. Her craft is precise and evocative. She effectively creates a chilling portrait of a predator, utterly selfish and unconcerned with the damage she radiates to all those close to her. I walked away knowing this was just a preliminary chapter in the life of a sociopath, and saw quite vividly the escalating path of her disease.
I was not able to read this exclusively. I had to take sanity breaks, anything, everything light and superficial, an issue of People, a comic, Cracked on the internet. Anything that broke me out of the mind of Celeste, as she methodically plotted, stalked and groomed her victim. There is a dichotomy in this society that a female pedophile preying on boys is not as “bad” as other combinations, that the boy is getting an envied education. And while the novel started out with the excitement and “luck” of the victim, there is no doubt by the end that his life was utterly derailed, and that there was nothing redeeming, kind or gentle about Celeste. Still, it made me quite uncomfortable, having been targeted by a pedophile myself as a child, I saw a lot of similarities and truisms that were quite hard to read.
The writing is hands down XXX erotica, with the attributes of the young boy front and center. But if you can manage to read through, the result is a portrait of one of the coldest and vilest protagonists since Patrick Batemen in American Psycho.