Book Review – My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Hello, everyone! During the COVID-19 quarantine, I’ve gotten slightly back into reading. While being off work currently isn’t great financially, I have gotten through a couple books, so I’m pretty proud of myself. Along with the coronavirus stuff, I’m currently in the process of moving into a new house! So, stress levels have never been higher, and all of my books are currently packed away in boxes. What a time to be alive.

That being said, I was able to borrow a book from work before we had to close down, and the book I chose was My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. I’ve seen this cover around for months, and I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews. I was eager to dive in and discover what everyone loved about this book. I mean, even Gillian Flynn blurbed it and said, “Brilliant and stunning…An absolute must-read.”


While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was definitely hard to read at times. It’s unsettling and uncomfortable, but an insanely necessary story to tell. Russell has said in multiple interviews I’ve read that she didn’t base the character Vanessa off of herself or her experiences, but Vanessa can be like so many women. She’s relatable and broken, and every person who reads this story can’t help but recall a time when they’ve also felt so broken.

Russell writes beautifully as well. Never once did I skim read through any of this book because I felt like every word and sentence had meaning and was vital to the story and characters. She somehow makes you feel a hundred different emotions for the same characters time and time again, almost to the point where you feel like this is a diary of your own life. I felt like Russell captured exactly what it’s like to carry trauma and abuse with you throughout your young adulthood. Never once did I doubt any of Vanessa’s emotions.

In today’s current world with the #MeToo movement, stories like this are more important than they’ve ever been. I thought this book shed light on women’s stories of abuse without it feeling preachy or overbearing. I know there are parts that might have upset a lot of readers or some might’ve found them unnecessarily detailed, but to me, the details made it feel more real and relevant. I’ve seen many reviews say they felt like it was too long and drawn out, but I never felt bored. I mean, I finished the whole book in a single day if that tells you how captivated I was.


Overall, I gave this book 5 stars. I think it’s beautifully written and tells an impactful story. It’s not for the lighthearted, and there are numerous trigger warnings for those who need them. However, I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Until next time,



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