Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Eye Unseen - by Cynthia Tottleben - An original and very disturbing tale

5 of 5 Stars.   Review copy

The Eye Unseen starts out looking like it's going to be a straight-forward tale of the horrors of child abuse and it is that, but it's much, much more.

Told in a first person narrative with each chapter told by one of several characters in the book, including Tippy, the dog.

Lucinda Shay Tew, or Lucy as she's called, has quit the swim team because she can no longer hide the embarrassing bruises from her mother's frequent beatings.  Her older sister, Brandy tends to escape her mother's wrath, but Lucy seems to be hated just for being who she is.

To keep this child abuse from being discovered, Lucy's mother, Joan tells the school that Lucy is now living with her father in France and proceeded to keep her isolated in the house, locking her in her room for days at a time and eventually forcing her to live in the basement.

Lucy's mother makes the mother in Stephen King's Carrie look like a Saint.

At times, I found The Eye Unseen to be extremely disturbing to the point of horrifying.  "After rummaging through my drawers I came up with some toenail clippers, and together we dissected the rodent.  Cut the poor guy's fur like we were stripping him of a suit and peeled it back from his body.  A few months earlier, and Brandy and I would have squealed at such a thought.  Funny how hunger made you immune to some things.  'I'm sure this would taste a lot better cooked.'  I made my apologies to Tippy as I split the small bits of meat between us."

The writer, Cynthia Tottleben, was the winner of JournalStone's writing competition for 2013.  Deservedly so, as I found this to be one of the most compellingly original horror stories I've read in recent memory.

If you're in the mood for something different in your horror reading, be sure to add The Eye Unseen to your To Be Read pile.

Highly recommended.

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