Annie’s abduction by psycho David only begins the nightmare she will live being his captive for the next year. Following some of the actual events of Jaycee Duggard’s kidnapping, this fictionalized version of being held hostage contained similar grotesque acts perpetrated on innocent Annie. By flashing between the time she was held captive, and then coping with her freedom, the book is perfectly balanced. Annie’s edgy and blunt voice made the story enjoyable to read despite the tense subject. The author provides humor to the reader in small things such as having Annie refer to her abductor as the “Freak.” The abduction is a foundation for the mystery element to the book: why was Annie taken in the first place, and was the Freak acting alone? These questions kept me glued to the pages.
Well researched, the author allows Annie to provide a fresh perspective on the psychological torture that results when someone is held against their will. Despite Annie’s initial decision to resist her captor, she quickly learns that to survive she will have to play along in the sick make-believe world the Freak created. The insights Annie provides while conversing with her shrink allow the reader to connect with her and understand that, despite her capture, she is just a normal young woman seeking all the things in life everyone else strives for. Another interesting element was the existence of Annie’s boyfriend. Specifically, how the Freak used him to exert mind control over Annie during the time she is held captive, and whether Annie can reconnect with him once she is free. Annie’s unsympathetic mother adds a peculiar element to Annie’s ordeal and recovery. And the reader questions whether Annie’s family rivalry could possibly have motivated one of her own relatives to orchestrate her abduction.
I feel weird saying I enjoyed the novel because it was so twisted, but the story was something different and the perspective was unique. The writing was strong and the characters were realistic, making the book a solid fictional story. It isn’t exactly a lite read, but it was mesmerizing.