I was amazed at the talent and depth in writing by author L. Donsky-Levine in her novella “The Bad Girl.” Her story is not a light to read as it’s very emotional and her writing did not shy away from some of the darker sides of humanity. The author was not afraid to dive in to a world where life is not safe, and pretty while tackling subjects that causes people to feel shame and worthlessness while pointing out the sheer madness of what one human being can do to another.
This book is set in the 1970’s, and the main character Riley Madison is introduced as always looking over her shoulder, from poverty, and from abuse,as well as grieving the loss of her innocence and the denied childhood from living with a junkie mother. This book also touches on the subject of abuse, and could be triggering to some readers. She lives in a world where her only friend is a cat, and where she works at a Times Square sex emporium servicing anyone who can pay.
The author starts the book introducing the reader to one of Riley’s cats talking to us about how he felt sorry for Riley, which was a bold move for the author, but it surprisingly worked and added a depth and feel for just HOW alone Riley is. Her cat becomes pivotal in sharing the burden of Riley’s pain and suffering. Riley’s life is a direct reflection of her traumatic past, and causes her to isolate and starts to wall of her feelings and become just her actions and not the TRUE Riley that is locked up behind that wall of shame and pain.
There are jumps in time throughout the story. Unlike some books I have read, I wasn’t disoriented as to where we were in Riley’s world, but those time breaks left me saddened. left me, not disoriented, but sad. I found myself wanting more chapters by the cat, (the cat has the best point of view ever!)..but all in all her characters were like able and entertaining enough to distract me from some of the haunting images this book left in my head.
The plot is brilliant, well written and descriptive about her experiences in the sex industry. It is pretty graphic, which again could offend some readers, however I thought the author did a brilliant job overall. I do not want to give anything away as I hate when someone spoils a book for me, however I will be waiting on the next book.
Don’t dismiss this novella just because it is a quick read, there was so much raw emotion and powerful story line that the author brilliantly packed in, that you will also want to know more. What is happening to Riley and her fur babies now. This novella is highly recommended from me and Riley’s story will be haunting me for quite some time.
I was given an ARC for an honest review of this author’s work.