By Juliette Fay
I’m a huge baby about anything scary. I have no idea why people go to horror movies or read violent stories. Honestly, it’s like someone telling me they enjoy eating dirt and offering me a spoonful. Seriously? Whatever for?
Clearly there is a part of the human psyche that enjoys the vicarious adrenaline rush of watching or reading about something terrifying. I do not have that part. And I don’t mind, most of the time. It makes it a lot easier to narrow down my viewing/reading options to a manageable list.
Occasionally it’s a liability, though. When one of my dearest friends handed me Little Bee by Chris Cleave, she said, “You have to read this. The writing is so beautiful and the story is unforgettable.”
Little Bee is gorgeously written, completely masterful, immediately engulfing. Which is why when it got to the parts about why the main character, a young girl, was fleeing from Nigeria, and what unspeakable things had happened to her, her sister and her friends, I felt as if it were happening to me. I’m still slightly traumatized by those images.
“How could you tell me to read this?” I asked my friend. “You know I can’t handle that stuff!”
So when I decided that Sean Doran, the protagonist of my new novel The Shortest Way Home, would be a nurse who had tended to the poorest of the poor in some of the most degraded, dangerous places of the world, I knew I was in for a tough time. I would be researching and writing about the worst kind of horror—the suffering of children. … Continue Reading