The story of a rich and handsome teenager who is abducted by a huge serial-killer daddy
Sayers Wayte has a perfect life. He is rich, white, and famous in his school. But his life is upended when he’s abducted by some stranger claiming to be his father. He knows his captor is crazy. But as months passed with no hope of being rescued, he’s beginning to question everything, including the truth of what he knows about his life.
Geek Rate: Sun god Worthy (4 out of 5 stars). “A rich and handsome teenager abducted and forced to play a role of a different boy by a huge serial-killer daddy” is like an intro to a porn video. But “Dark Room Etiquette” is a serious book that offers in-depth writing about the psychological effects of experiencing terror and loneliness. Mixed with a YA-style story, this book offers a unique read.
The book tells the story of 16-year-old Sayers, a rich kid/jock/bully who is abducted by a deranged man in Texas. Imagine a middle-aged daddy living in a rural area like a cowboy/truck driver/construction worker and you get the picture. Except that this dude is crazy. He thinks Sayers is his long, lost son who is abducted by a rich family. For months, he was chained and kept inside a small room with no windows.
Author Robin Roe explores the psychological effects on someone subjected to abduction. At first, Sayers is defiant, not losing his rich kid attitude. Then as the months and torture passed by, he becomes obedient to his captor. It comes to the point where he could not tell between the truth and lies. Is he really the child from the wealthy Wayte clan or his abductor is telling the truth? What if he really is his father?
The tension and suspense are apparent on every page. Readers will feel the horror, helplessness, bliss, and every other emotion in every chapter like a roller coaster ride. While Sayers feels like your typical YA character (a bully in a high school setting), the mystery of what’s going to happen to him is what makes me keep reading.
But when the abduction ended, the story fizzled. We’re back again in the high school setting. But this time, Roe focuses her story on the after-effects of Sayer’s capture. He is a changed man now, seeing the world through a different lens. It is cliché YA to have a bad character change his heart and side with those bullied students. The story just feels disjointed and stretched too far. The discussion about psychology and religion is also problematic.
Even though it has a dismal ending, readers will still not forget the feeling of perusing those scenes where Sayers is in captivity. Roe’s attempt to explain the psychology of it in layman’s terms is laudable.
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