The author never makes you weep for that little girl she says she once was. It all feels so cold
a minister. It started a debate about whether the confessional form had gone too far.
How mild and thoughtful The Kiss seems now. In The Incest Diary, horror is piled on shuddering horror. Anonymous recalls how her father would tie her up, shut her in the wardrobe and use a knife on her. I hated reading it. Not because the infliction of pain is so relentless, although it is, but because Anonymous never makes you weep for that little girl she says she once was. It all feels so cold, so calculated.
If someone had sat down to write the publishing sensation of the summer of ‘17, what would their criteria have been? Well, a) it has to be “real” to satisfy the craving for confessional tales; b) choose the worst taboo of our age — child abuse; c) introduce just enough “Is it? Or isn’t it” elements to feed a dinner party debate; d) give it a classy cover so readers feel they’re holding something literary and elevated; and e) pick a title that sounds wicked and intriguing, not harrowing and repulsive (The Child Abuse Chronicles, anyone?).
The Incest Diary ticks all those boxes. Anonymous may well go to the top of the bestseller lists, as she surely intended. I do hope not. Something can be true and still not believable. This is a bad book masquerading as a good one.