is probably better known for its movie starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. I have seen the movie, but I don't think I will discuss the differences between the two, they both have their merits. I think, perhaps, the movie is less disturbing just because the scenes in the book are just that much more graphic (whereas they would not actually show the abuse explicitly in the movie). I would not recommend this book to those who are easily offended by sex and violence involving children and teens.
However, the book is honest, and these things DO happen and I believe that it is worth reading and acknowledging, even if it is so very painful and heartbreaking.
To play devil's advocate about the cons of the book, at some point, I felt like the minor POVs (Wendy and Eric) served no purpose than to show how awesomely hot and dangerous Neil was. "As I later wrote in my journal, Neil would have 'averted my eye from an uncapped grenade'". Now imagine this... almost all the time. At some point, I felt that all the other characters besides Neil and Brian sort of existed for the sole purpose of illustrating a more objective view of them. That's not to say that the minor characters aren't painted vividly, because they are, but they didn't seem particularly important and could've really been replaced by anyone and it wouldn't have made much of a difference. It was also a bit more than suited my tastes with the self-wallowing.
All of the characters are looking to escape. You can be Deborah or her father who literally moves away, or like Wendy and Eric who fantasizes about being saved from monotony with their morbid fantasies of murder and mayhem, or you can be Neil, who separates himself from others by lashing out on them, or like Brian, who, instead of facing the troubles in front of him, prefers to look towards the sky for glimpses of the extraterrestrial. Mysterious Skin
is a book about a small suburb in the middle of nowhere and how all the characters feel trapped. It is a story about growing up, and how rarely one ever does it gracefully, but with a sort of violence that leaves one with a sense of vertigo.
The protection of innocence and its theft is what some people would consider the transitional point between child and adult. You are no longer a child if you are corrupted, yet, that is hardly the case since no one in the story gives off the feeling of being a responsible adults. The adults in the story struggle to raise their children while their own personal lives come crashing down like a vase into a thousand tiny pieces. They are child molesters, rapists, lonely men who slowly drive by parks looking for prostitutes are examples of those on the more degenerate side, and at best, they are too busy wrestling with their own problems to do anything about the problems of others. And if they are not blind to the problems of their children, they can do little about it except watch them grow up as one would an inevitable train crash. Brian's mother is as close to a responsible adult as one gets in the story, bless her soul.
Needless to say, it is a depressing story. Prepare to suffer.
Anyway, enough of about the book. I went and googled "pedophilia" (hope the cops don't bust through my door and arrest me, I swear it's just for this review), but I came across some interesting discoveries that I'm sure everyone else already knew and I'm the only one who is late to the party.
According to WebMD, a pedophile is: "a person who has a sustained sexual orientation toward children, generally aged 13 or younger. Not all pedophiles are child molesters (or vice versa). Child molesters are defined by their acts; pedophiles are defined by their desires. Some pedophiles refrain from sexually approaching any child for their entire lives.
" But it's not clear how common that is.
Pedophilia has been categorized as a mental disorder since 1968. I find it sort of odd that they would say it is both a mental disease and a sexual orientation. I'm not trying to defend pedophilia or anything, but not that long ago, homosexuality was considered a disease as well... hm, some food for thought. I'm definitely
not venturing into that territory since that opens up a whole can of worms and I don't want to be caught with my foot in my mouth. At the moment, I kind of view pedophilia as a mental disease a bit like an antisocial personality disorder. It's not something that one can help, and it is detrimental to others living in society. There is no cure, but there is therapy that makes it manageable.