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Literature / Living Dead Girl

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A novel written by Elizabeth Scott. Surprisingly has nothing to do with zombies or ghosts, despite what the title may have you think.

The book is narrated by Alice, a 15-year-old girl who lives with a man named Ray, in a place called Shady Pines Apartments. The preceding statement might seem innocuous enough, without including such minor details as Ray's repeated sexual assault, starvation and beatings of Alice.

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It turns out that Ray is not Alice's father, as it would seem to anyone looking in from the outside, but a pedophile who took her away from her family when she was only 10.

As the book progresses, Alice finds that Ray would like to have a family, another little girl for him to "love". It turns out that the task of finding this girl is up to Alice. Most of the book follows Alice's attempts to find a way to get Ray to focus on this new girl and get back home to her family.

Character tropes go on the Characters page.


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This book provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Nearly all the adults in the story notice something off with Alice, but not anything off with Ray, and they just chalk up Alice's oddities to her having problems. However, there are two standout examples:
    • The women at the waxing salon ignore the fact that Alice comes in unaccompanied, despite the sign saying anyone under 18 needs parental permission, and either ignore or brush off her eating everything she can while she's there.
    • When Alice was first taken, she managed to run away and flag down a gas station attendant, but the woman just snapped at her for trying to enter the convenience store area without shoes before she could even say anything, despite Alice being clearly disheveled and crying. Alice describes herself as starting to scream when Ray caught up to her, but the attendant just setting him up at the gas pump and leaving them. She remembers this as the moment she started to believe Ray's claims that no one would ever help her.
  • Alice Allusion: Numerous. Alice is called Alice, after all, and there are many references to the story itself.
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  • All Men Are Perverts: The two significant male characters, Ray and Jake, are a child-raping murderer (Ray) and a drugged up horny teenager (Jake), but this also seems to be an extension of Alice's Unreliable Narrator status and her natural distrust of others.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The final chapter is extremely ambiguous about whether Alice/Kyla dies from the gunshot or is actually free from Ray, but given how severe her injuries are, it seems more likely to be the former.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Ray, like his mother before him.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The apartment block. Alice notes that it is a nice Stepford Suburbia town, but in addition to Alice and Ray living there, there seems to be a lot of bullying and domestic abuse, as well as generally turning a blind eye to what seems wrong.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Invoked literally in-universe. Ray killed the previous Alice when she turned fifteen, but this Alice is already fifteen and thus naturally feels like she's on borrowed time. We never find out for sure if she lived to her sixteenth birthday.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Played with. Alice lives in a state of constant starvation as Ray is obsessed with her not getting above 100 pounds. He'll also punish her with withdrawing food, but it's implied that denying food is more his punishment for growing up.
  • Desires Prison Life: After Ray threatens to burn down her parents' house with them and her newborn baby sister inside and frame her should she defy his plan to get "Annabel", Alice begins to entertain the idea of going there, getting the family out, and burning it down herself. She figures that not only would she be away from Ray after being caught, but she would have the opportunity to eat regularly and grow into a mature figure, making her less desirable to him.
    "Ray will not come for me if the police have me...I will stay in jail until I am old, twenty-five, thirty, eat all I can and hope I swell up, grow into breasts and hips and belly like his mother's wide white girth. Then, if he comes, he will not want me. I will be safe."
  • Downer Ending: Can be interpreted this way. Alice gets shot along with Ray, and it's implied she dies because of it. On the plus side, though, Alice is finally freed from Ray.
    • Another plus is that Ray himself is killed. Even better, Alice- or rather, Kyla- saved another little girl from suffering the same horrible fate she did. Given that Ray would have definitely kept, uh, acquiring little girls to join his "family," the world can rejoice that he bit the bullet. So it can also be interpreted as a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Driven to Suicide: The previous Alice tried to commit suicide with a razor blade, but Ray caught her. This is why he doesn't let Alice shave, instead forcing her to utilize hair-removal cream and intimate waxing.
  • Evil Feels Good: Ray, as a sadist, feels like this, but Alice also comes to realise that she agrees with him after terrifying Jake during one of their car hookups.
  • First Period Panic: Alice understandably has this reaction because Ray will react very, very badly, as he did in the past.
  • First-Person Smartass: Alice has her moments.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ray's mother did to him what he does to Alice.
  • The Fundamentalist: Ray's mother seems to have been like this.
  • Kidnapper's KFC: Ray eats fried chicken (presumably a Writing Around Trademarks friendly version of KFC) while in the car with the starving Alice as they're waiting to kidnap Lucy.
  • No Name Given/Known Only by Their Nickname: Up until the last few pages, Alice is only known by the name Ray gave her (Alice), and it is not until the end that we learn that her real name is Kyla Davis.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: A very horrifying and sickening example. Because Ray is a pedophile, he isn't happy about Alice being on the cusp of puberty. To combat this, he starves her, robbing Alice's body of the nutrients it needs to develop. Thanks to this, Alice spends the entire novel in a perpetual state of hunger and obsesses about food. Ray also forces her to wax all of the hair off her body and shoves her into clothing that is meant for girls half her age.
  • No Periods, Period: Played with. Alice has her period and Ray freaks out, going to great lengths to make it stop, and puts her on birth control. Although Alice notes that the pill isn't supposed to work like this, it stops her period altogether, probably because she's so malnourished.
  • Meaningful Name: Ray plans to rename Lucy "Annabel", which references Humbert Humbert's Lost Lenore, and by extension the Edgar Allan Poe poem the original character was named for. Both Ray and Humbert are pedophiles with similar motives: Humbert to sire a daughter with Lolita and begin grooming that little girl, and Ray to keep Alice as the "mother" to his next victim.
  • Meaningful Rename: Ray does this to both his victims, who are both called "Alice". It shakes the second Alice even more when she realises that Ray plans to call his new victim Annabel which means that he might not intend to kill her after all.
  • Princess Phase: Ray thinks that all little girls should like princesses, and Alice's bedroom is decorated like this.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Ray shows Alice a news clipping of the birth announcement of her parent's new baby as a way of further disconnecting her from her old life, claiming she's been forgotten and replaced.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: Jake attempts this on Ray at the end in the park where he plans to kidnap Lucy, but the bullet goes through him so, while it kills him, it also turns into a Shoot the Hostage situation, possibly killing Alice too.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Alice is this without realising she is, as she automatically interprets the world as an evil, cynical place where Ray is everywhere. Ray is a straighter example, and it's not clear how much he makes up to terrorise Alice.

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