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Ghost Girl: 01/16/07

Ghost Girl

I'm not sure what to make of Ghost Girl. This memoir of a year teaching an elective mute and her three classmates is simultaneously charming and horrifying. The book uses horror genre conventions: a mater of fact tone, cliffhangered surprises at the end of chapters and the combination of graphic sexual description with the occult. There's just problem: the events described are based on reality.

The book is a memoir but other than it being presented in the first person it doesn't read like a memoir. It reads like fiction. Other than one's prior knowledge of Torey Hayden's work as a teacher and therapist and note below the copyright that says the names were changed to protect the privacy of those involved there is nothing in the text to suggest or remind one that the story is non-fiction. There are no footnotes and no bibliography. Both would have been helpful as Hayden refers to her previous work or to something she has read on a subject without providing enough information to look up what she is mentioning.

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