Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Title:  Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
Author:  Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Published:  May 4, 2009
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.


"'How long will you keep me?' I asked.
You shrugged. 'Forever, of course.'"
What words would you use to describe a man who abducts someone? A bad guy? Monster? Freak? How about the crime he committed? It should be an easy call to make. Black and white; wrong and right... except it’s not. Not even close. Stolen is a letter written by Gemma to Ty, the man who abducted her from an airport in Bangkok. But the things we learn about Ty and being able to experience Gemma’s captivity through her eyes make you realize nothing is black and white. There's so much gray, and I love the gray.

“It sounded weird to hear you talk so much; normally you only said a few words at a time. I'd never imagined that you'd have a story, too. Until that moment, you were just the kidnapper. You didn't have reasons for anything. You were stupid and evil and mentally ill. That was all. When you started talking, you started changing.” 

The spectacular, vivid descriptions of the Australian landscape that had me nearly feeling the hot red sand between my toes, and the emotional and thought-provoking passages in this poignant story make it a must-read. Stolen messed with my mind and it toyed with my heart. I questioned it, I was angered by it, I cried over it, and I fell in love with it. A beautifully written, amazingly unique concept that I'm so happy I read.

“And it's hard to hate someone once you understand them.”