The Girl Next Door

The Girl Next Door


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781892950611
Publisher: Overlook Connection Press, The
Publication date: 07/15/2003
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 0.55(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Jack Ketchum, a four-time recipient of the Bram Stoker Award, is the author of many novels and works of short fiction. Several of his books have been adapted to film. Jack lives in New York City.

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Girl Next Door 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 116 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that once you have read the last word on the last page, you sit there for a moment and just think about everything that just happened. This book grabs you...hard. It rips and tears at your mind making you just wish that a happy ending would hurry up and come. Towards the end of the story, I felt the urge to just chuck the book across the room because of the anger I felt towards what was happening in the story. Its been a while since I've read a story so honest, daring, and twisted. A highly suggested read, if you can stomach it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Suburban 1950s New Jersey is a great place to raise kids just ask twelve year old David, who loves playing in his idyllic neighborhood where crime is nonexistent. Next door Ruth Chandler, single mother of David¿s best friend Donny and two brothers, takes in two young distant cousins whose parents died in a horrific automobile accident. The older sister fourteen years old Meg seems to have fully recovered the younger sibling Susan needs crutches and wears heavy metal braces on her legs while mentally she is totally broken. David is immediately attracted to the lovely Meg and they begin meeting at places like 'Big Rock¿ they make a charming cute couple. Ruth lives in the past when she was the office manager of a large firm she hates suburbia and being saddled with five children. She takes her growing rage out on her new charges, physically and mentally abusing Meg and Susan, especially Meg who reminds her of all she gave up to have kids. Her sons by omission support her actions. David also knows that Ruth is violent towards Meg, but though he loathes what she is doing, he is also fascinated by her dehumanizing the one person who reminds her how far she has fallen. --- This reprint of a 1989 deep psychological study focuses on the watcher-narrator David who learns about abuse and helplessness when he fascinatingly observes the pain a human inflicts on another while neighbors ignore the truth. The story line hooks the audience from the opening line as a wizened David understands pain and never lets go as the serene middle class suburban neighborhood enables ugliness to hide behind the scene (mindful of the Kitty Genovese killing in 1964 Queens). This book also includes two short stories and an interview with Jack Ketchum, but cannot be considered padding since the novel is 340 pages. Readers will be shocked by the horror of customized violence that society chooses to ignore when it happens to THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. --- Harriet Klausner
Wania Gonzalez More than 1 year ago
Wow. This book left me feeling sad and mad. Sad for the girl, she fought til the end. No matter what they did. Angry....David! So dissapointing how he acted towards this. Yes he kind stood up at the end but how count he know it was wrong from the start. Idk im confused on what i feel towards david
Guest More than 1 year ago
Intense, once you start you can not stop. Once you finished you will never be the same.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good. Sad that it was based on a true story. Had to watch the movie on Netflix afterwards!
Kasia_S More than 1 year ago
No one can say that this story lacks nostalgia; it is however overshadowed by events that are hard to read, moments so painful that sometimes the reader is left in discomfort (but hungry for revenge). Perhaps when it comes to harming kids, certain emotions kick into higher gear, horror stories that involve adults never tug at me as much as stories where defenseless youngsters get the unfortunate piece of life, especially if they were good kids who didn't deserve even the slightest form of punishment. This story however is about two kinds of kids, the good ones and the ones who know no empathy and no boundaries, dark souls that manage to cause some psychical and psychological harm. Told from the point of view of young David, the tale takes on personal feel when the boy takes interest in Meg, a bright young girl who moves in with the family next door. Along with her younger sister Susan, she is a survivor of a car crash that claimed the lives of her parents, moving in with her relatives seemed like a good a good idea until aunt Ruth started to act strange. Drinking her beer and letting her boys loose she was a tough feisty woman, one that you can't say no to, one that will punish you in bizarre and cruel ways, one that can destroy a young soul and send it to brims of pain and humiliation. This was a powerful and moving book, one that made me angry and wishing I could have appeared in it with a weapon ready to kick some @ss. This is a story that takes a life of its own, one that will change you for a while with its moving and descriptive -sometimes too descriptive, language. This was a great read from Ketchum, worth the hype and it delivers, it's simply a great story, read it. - Kasia S.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't believe anyone, no matter what the age, could be stupid enough to not tell someone that a girl was being tortured for weeks, let alone months. There were other GIRLS there also, not just stupid boys. I think it's unbelievable that MORE THAN one person was that stupid.
RachaRolla on LibraryThing 7 months ago
So I just finished this book and am truly horrified. I first has this book recommended to me by a friend, so I had a quick look for it read some reviews and found that most people said it was truly terrifying. I had very high expectations of the horror involved in this book and thought that it may be over-hyped and nothing could be that particularly depraved as it was being made out to be. I was wrong, after finished chapter 42 I had to stop and stare at the wall for a good 10 minutes to compose myself and regain the courage to continue reading. I was absolutely disgusted reading this book and most of all for David who knew what was happening to Meg was wrong and didn't help her. The worst part was reading that most of the worst things that happened in the book to Meg happened to Sylvia Likens on which the character is based. Ruth and the children are pure evil.Having said that Ketchum gives a well written, descriptive, and insightful look into how it would feel to be burned at the stake, and that is exactly how you feel reading this book, I felt really disturbed to continue reading this book but just couldn't put it down
punkypower on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Holy. crap. I JUST finished reading this book. Still numb. So I read about it in the Thingamabrarians Go Bump in the Night horror group . Oh this was horror, all right. Not ghosts and ghoulies, but real horror. I had to close at night and have to be back in about 4 hours, but I read it all in one sitting. Now I'm an unflappable girl. I LOVE horror movies and books, but nothing ever freaks me out. Minus the clown in Poltergeist as a kid, no story has ever scared or affected me. This one did. There were times I had to shut the book for a few seconds to compose myself, get the anger and scowl off my face. There were times where I was shivering, and it had nothing to do with how cold it was outside. There were two times were I cried. The worst part is, this is based on a true story. I think it'll take awhile to get this story out of my head. As Forrest Gump says, "And that's all I have to say about that."Man, I really wished I would have waited for The Witches. I could REALLY use a light read now. :(233 pages
spencerseidel on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book is terrifyingly, disturbingly real and as dark as it gets. The worst part? It's based on a true story. Not for the squeamish!
klarsenmd on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book is flat out horror. Not the ghost and monster type, but pure, basic, human evil horror. Based on a true story, Ketchum reveals how far the mind of madness can spread.It tells the story of an adolescent boy and the pretty girl who moves in with his buddies next dorr after a tragic accident has left her and her sister orphans. The downward spiral of Ruth, the make shift mom, leads all of the kids to the gates of hell. This is one the the most disturbing stories I've ever read, adn one that will likely stay with me for years to come.
BookBindingBobby on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Harrowing. Ketchum has given us a fictionalized account of what it is like to be in Hell. Brilliant, horrifying.
thejonsoon on LibraryThing 7 months ago
For a book that documents the graphic torture and rape of a teenage girl, there is more than a hint of subtelty. I was initially reluctant to read the book following a friends recommendation. I don't tend to read about torture for the enjoyment of it, but after reading countless enthusiastic reviews, i took the plunge.The opening chapters evoke a feeling of tragic nostalgia, as we know a little about what lies around the corner for the orphaned girl and her younger sister, at the hands of her auntie, her sons and a bunch of other kids in the neighbourhood.From the point of view of the characters, the book effectively creates a sense of hopelessness and isolation (the girls), a desire to fit in despite a nagging compulsion to do the right thing (a boy neighbour - NO SPOILERS!) and a totally believable descent into madness (the evil auntie).That it achieves this, is down in no small part to Ketchum's vivid writing ability and open-minded willingness to understand the workings and reasonings of good and bad people/deeds. If the author chanelled his efforts into less unsettling subject matter, I imagine he would be huge.Don't be put off by any perception that this is some kind of torture-porn - it is totally not.The book leaves you feeling as if you have a whole cut right in the middle of you, and will stay with you. i read it 6 months ago and it almost feels as if I read it last week.Not for everybody, true, but the author achieves what he sets out to with aplomb.
silversurfer on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Very disturbing plot-searing, haunting, but all too real. Makes you feel that killers are lurking in our back yard. Ketchum is a terrific writer.
phantom245w44st on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book was pretty good, very disturbing if you're squeamish or easily upset you should NOT read! The first half of the book was pretty slow but it set the scene well for the second half of the book and the book sped up with a horrifying yet justified ending. This book is based on a real life true crime story about the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens. I only wish what happened to Ruth in the book really did happen to Gertrude Branzieskwi the woman behind the horrors that Sylvia Liken had to face.
SturgisPublicLibrary on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Is violence overplayed in literature? Does it even serve a purpose anymore considering what we can read in a newspaper or see on television? I don¿t have answers for these questions, but the novel The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum elucidates on these questions in horrific beauty. A story about the systematic abuse of a teenage girl by the hands of her family, friends, and community, told through the eyes of one of the abusers and so-called friends, David. Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. Whereas one can dismiss gory unrealistic violence, this book puts violence on a new frontier of entering your own living room. I recommend this book, but I¿ll never read it again. The images I¿ve taken away will last a lifetime. If this title is unavailable from our library we are more than happy to ILL it for you. Happy Reading!
JechtShot on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This was my first venture into Jack Ketchum's realm of horror. The Girl Next Door masterfully tells the tale of a young boy who is conflicted between adolescent curiosity and doing the "right thing" when it comes to torturing a pretty young girl who has moved in next door. The first person narrative adds to the haunting reality of this story, because you feel like you, the reader, are there and should be doing something to stop the brutality. However, much like the main character, you cannot help but let curiosity get the best of you with every turn of the page. The book is graphic, the subject matter is extremely disturbing, but for some reason I could not look away. Another element that adds to the complexity is that an "adult", who unbeknownst to the "kids" has taken a trip on the crazy train, is leading the torture ceremony. How can it be wrong if "Mom" is doing it? I am happy I have found Jack Ketchum and I look forward to reading many, many more of his novels.
silenceiseverything on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The Girl Next Door is one of the hardest books to rate. Yes, it's an incredibly well-written novel and amazing novel, but at the same time, it's utterly terrible. I've read a few horror books and none of the others horrified me like The Girl Next Door did. I saw The Girl Next Door movie about two years ago, so I already had an idea about how hard it would be to read this book. Immediately, you start to sympathize with Meg. And when the abuse starts, you flinch and think "Oh my God, this is terrible", and yet you feel a sense of relief as you think "Well, now things can't possibly get any worse for her", but it does. Reading this book, I felt like a voyeur. Seeing these things happen to this little girl and being powerless to stop it is one of the worse feelings ever. Sure, I was thinking, "It's just a book, calm down", but this novel is based on a true story so it just makes those feelings of contempt to the people doing this to Meg get stronger. Even though, you dislike everything that's happening in the book, it's like a trainwreck you can't look away. This book is an eye-opener to just how evil the human spirit can be. Even the most normal-looking family has the potential to inflict a serious amount of pain to a fellow human being. That thought in mind made this book that much harder to finish. Yet I did, but cried through those last 100 pages as Meg's abuse got worse and worse. The Girl Next Door is not for the faint of heart. It's an amazing, yet terrible book. While I don't regret reading it, I'm not exactly thrilled that I did.
DChurch71 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book is one of the best books and the worst books I have ever read. If that makes sense. Never had I read a book that I stopped reading and was actually shivering from reading. This book is incredibily well written it was almost like being there. Jack Kecthum shows us readers that it is not always the make-believe monsters that scare us the most, it is the evil that lurks inside people, that could be living next door to you. This is probably one of the scariest books I have ever read. I do not think I will ever forget this book or ever read it again.
danizinha on LibraryThing 7 months ago
That is an extremely difficult book to rate and review. On one hand it's the kind of book that I never ever want to get anywhere near to again, on the other hand it's supposed to be just that. A few years ago I read the detailed info on the real case of Sylvia Likens, that this novel is based on, then I saw the movie too, so pretty much I knew everything I should expect to happen, nevertheless it was a very disturbing book, so I guess, mission accomplished for Ketchum.
HvyMetalMG on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I was really expecting a ghost story or a supernatural thriller based on testimonials and the summary. I was very disapointed. While child abuse is certainly the most horrific topic I can imagine, it was hard to read. I guess Ketchum does a good job of writing about it because it got me very angry, but I was looking for a more tounge and cheek view of horror, much like a Bentley Little.
neurokarma on LibraryThing 7 months ago
One book I certainly won't be forgetting. Truly awful, worse knowing it was based on a true story.
Roupli on LibraryThing 7 months ago
The first book I read of Jack Ketchum was "The Lost", which I liked a lot and I heard that "The girl next door " was one of his best. Well, I wasn't disappointed cause this book gave me shivers... Jack Ketchum really is a master of horror!
JurviZ on LibraryThing 7 months ago
May be well written and technically good, but a horrible reading experience.
SenoraG163 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I have to say this is the most disturbing book I have ever read. Its not easy to get to me but this book literally made me sick. It also made me feel guilty for keeping reading. I will admit that I skimmed the last quarter just to see how it ended but I couldnt read anymore of the graphic descriptions.