Olivia Peters’ dream comes true when she wins a prestigious high school writing contest and gets the attention of Father Mark Brennan, an esteemed priest, professor, and writer. As a reward for her contest win, Father Mark takes Olivia under his wing and introduces her to the fascinating world of writers and the writing lifestyle.
For a while, Olivia is sailing. She has an attentive mentor, a new crush, and good relationships with her family, friends, and teachers. But then she begins to feel that something might be wrong. Hardly a minute goes by without Father Mark contacting her in some way, pressuring her to meet up with him, go over their writing together, have a drink. And the more Olivia tries to avoid it, the bigger and the more terrifying the problem gets.
THIS GORGEOUS GAME is one of those books that, try as hard as you can, you won’t be able to get off your mind after reading. It’s chilling and astonishingly well-written, and if you’re looking for a book that will disturb and move you, this should be the one.
Stalking is extremely difficult to discuss, because it’s personal, upsetting, and so subtle you don’t realize something’s wrong until it’s already happened. That’s why what Donna Freitas has accomplished in THIS GORGEOUS GAME is so impressive and respectable. In writing alternatingly lyrical and down-to-earth, Freitas captures the simultaneous realism and surrealism of Olivia’s situation. Passages of unearthly beauty entwine with creepy situations for the mood that this story needs to be effectively convincing.
Olivia narrates her story with all the subtlety that this topic demands. Most of us will know what’s happening, can see the signs, but we can also see why Olivia could not have noticed the signs like the way we with our foresight can. Olivia’s story perfectly captures the terror of stalking, because it’s precisely its near-invisibility that makes it so disturbingly powerful.
THIS GORGEOUS GAME is as far from a light read as you can get. I still get goosebumps every time I think about or try to talk about this book, which hopefully shows the power that Olivia’s story had over me, the effect of Donna Freitas’ words. If physical horror isn’t your thing and you want to read something that will affect you profoundly, THIS GORGEOUS GAME is the ultimate choice. See if you get chills from reading it as I did.
Julie Anne Peters (By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead)
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 4 out of 5 - It's simple, yet gorgeous and powerful, so symbolic, so mesmerizing.
Farrar, Straus & Girous / May 25, 2010 / Hardcover / 224pp. / $16.99
ARC received from publisher.