Idea: The book traverses a painful and difficult subject - the author's sexual abuse at age 14 at the hands of a trusted man more than three times her own age - with unsparing honesty and a fine ear for dialogue, and a notable absence of self-pity for this serious theme.
Prose/Style: With gripping prose and perfectly paced, this memoir reads like the kind of novel one doesn't want to put down. The author's ability to slip into the skin of her teenage self is uncanny. The dialogue is written excellently, in an authentic manner and pitch-perfect in tone.
Originality: The book is reminiscent of Kathryn Harrison's The Kiss in its exploration of the author's sexual and emotional exploitation by a pedophile skilled at spotting and manipulating a young girl's loneliness and her need for an adult who will pretend to care for her, but manages to be singular in its narration and tone. The author's wracking analysis of the emotional and psychological hold her abuser retained on her is devastating.
Character Development/Execution: The characters are vivid and life-like. It is impossible to read this book without yearning to find a way to go back in time and protect this child from the events that would turn her into the healing and powerful woman who wrote this searing memoir.
Date Submitted: December 14, 2020
"...a heartfelt and raw account that will surely alter your perspective on a subject that is pervasive, relevant and timely."
"...others thinking of writing a memoir should read this book. As for the rest of us..."The Places Left Unfilled" is a riveting and enlightening read."
"A gripping and emotionally naked memoir...this is not a book, a subject or an author to take lightly."