As I slowly make my way through my collection of un-read thrillers, I've read quite a few books about women being victimized by men. In fact, I've started to think that I should write a series of books about females victimizing men just to balance the cosmic scales. Usually, the victims in these books (if they survive) find a way to take back some power from their attackers, which I suppose should be some comfort to the female reader. But the main character in Lisa Unger's Black Out does a little bit more than just show some spunk in the face of a horrifying past-or does she?
Black Out is a psychological thriller that grabs you by the imagination and doesn't let you go. Unger uses Annie herself as the narrator, making it impossible to tell what is real and what is imagined. The reader is forced to live the confusion, fear, and anger just as Annie feels it, while trying to figure out exactly how to keep herself and her family safe. It is one of those books that makes you question your own perception of events, and trying to make sense of the events is like putting together the pieces of a puzzle-from two different boxes. Frankly, even after finishing it I'm still not sure which of the events in the book actually happened and which ones she imagined. But in the end it didn't really matter. Unger writes the story of a woman desperately trying to gain power over her own life. Everyone tries to manipulate Annie, even the people who love her most-maybe especially the people who love her most. Annie's attempts to take back her life make you root for her, even when you're not sure you like her very much. And even though there are parts of the plot that are pretty implausible, I was caught up enough in the story of Annie and her past that it worked for me. Escapism at its best!
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