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Monday, May 27, 2013

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked

Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked by James Lasdun caught my attention immediately. I love true crime, and I have been obsessed with understanding stalkers my whole life (the psychologist in me?).

After James teaches a seminar at an MFA program, a student named Nasreen (not her real name) begins contacting him for advice. They strike up a cordial email correspondence until one day it become less cordial and more creepy. Nasreen begins intimating that she has feelings James, who in turn makes it clear that he is a happily married man and is not interested. Nasreen moves quickly from creepy to all-out stalker and in time, full-on psychotic. Even as James publishes this account, she continues to reach out to him.

I was morbidly engrossed in this book from the moment I picked it up. I enjoy Lasdun's writing style, and I liked his references to literature sprinkled throughout the book. The more Nasreen amped up her communication, the more I couldn't walk away from the car wreck of her obsession. I appreciated Lasdun telling this story from his point of view, the stalked--this book was completely subjective and I liked it that way.

I found it so interesting that Lasdun spends the middle part of the book examining his own feelings and role in this theater of obsession. He asks himself what he could have done to change it, and he constantly searches for ways to end it, contacting the FBI, the police, and his friends and colleagues whom Nasreen also has under her watch. This woman's obsession is relentless--she contacts all of his supervisors where he teaches, she sabotages his online authorial presence, and never seems to sleep in her quest to ruin Lasdun's life. I couldn't help but wonder how this woman could possibly even hold down a job with the amount of sabotage she constantly waves in Lasdun's face.

All of this to say, I think this book was well worth the hours I spent with it.

For you to own. Kindle on left, hard copy on right.

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