Friday, 31 May 2013

What I've Been Reading:
'The Moth Diaries' by Rachel Klein

A copy of this novel has sat languishing on my book shelves for the last few years. I bought it, attracted by the stunning cover, started it straight away and then got distracted and put it on my shelf un-read. It might just have stayed that way if it wasn't for the fact that my other half got hold of two free tickets to see the film adaptation. I'm one of those people who absolutely hates to see the film of a book without having read the book first and so the day before we were due to see the film, I grabbed my copy of this book, curled up on the sofa and read all 256 pages in one sitting, barely pausing to look up.

'The Moth Diaries', as you might have gathered by the title is presented to us in diary form, an interesting concept that really works with the premise. The story opens with a kind of foreword, the now adult diarist giving us a bit of background to the diary she kept as a sixteen year old girl. She admits that she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder complicated by depression and that her Psychiatrist has requested her permission to publish the tormented ramblings of her formative years. We never actually learn the identity of the girl we come to know so well. She is nameless to us and yet it doesn't hinder the story at all.

The diary opens at the beginning of a new school term. The sixteen year old narrator attends an exclusive all girls boarding school which over the past few years has become more of a home to her than the home she has shared with her Mother since her poet father killed himself. School is where Lucy, her best friend and secret obsession resides. Home has become the suite she shares with Lucy. But all that is about to change with the arrival of new girl Ernessa Bloch.

Ernessa is a mysterious addition to their world. Pale, foreign and a total loner, she is at odds with the world of school. But Lucy is drawn to her. Sweet, innocent Lucy who can't see the bad in anybody is sucked into Ernessa's world. But since Ernessa arrived on the scene, strange things have been happening. Death and destruction seem to plague the school and our narrator is convinced Ernessa is at the heart of it. She becomes obsessed with the idea that Ernessa Bloch is a Vampire.

But do Vampires really exist outside of the macabre stories she has been reading for her English class, or has her fevered imagination run rampant? We don't really find out and I'm reluctant to say too much in case it spoils the story for any of you who wish to read it. I will say however, that for me, 'The Moth Diaries' was psychologically taut, a brilliant painting of mental torment and teen angst. There were some lines that were incredibly poignant, that reminded me a little of my own teenage years.

It was a great read, an amazing little journey inside the mind. I'd recommend it to anybody who likes Psychological Horror with a dash of teen angst.


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