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VINE VOICEon May 19, 2002
I read this book on a sunny Saturday at the beach. I am sunburned now because I couldn�t stop reading long enough to walk to my car before I finished.
There are some very haunting images floating through my mind and yet the biggest thing I have taken away with me from �Living Dead Girl� is love. The images and emotions that are portrayed in this book are amazingly beautiful sometimes in the most morbid of ways. We want what we touch for a moment to last for a lifetime and yet that moment that we know love is a reality is a moment that becomes a lifetime. I have always believed that there is one person in the world that each of us is meant to love. And while many never find that person and settle for the person that finds them�.it is so apparent in this book that Ginny loves Paul faults and all and yet for him that one person is Molly, a paradox that plays out throughout the entire book.
The powerful forces that love can cause and create are amazing. And this novel is nothing like a mystery (like I�ve read all over the internet that it is�..society needs to pigeonhole every damn thing until they make a square peg fit a round hole�!!!) unless you consider the mystery of that which is love. And of course the disappearance of Molly is an ongoing source of questioning.
There were passages of this book that simply brought tears to my eyes. Mostly during Paul�s explanations of the good times that he and Molly shared.
I know that I will read this book again because there was one story happening in the forefront and another story happening in the background. I think it was amazing how the author manages to make the characters so real that they become people that you care about. Mr. Goldberg managed to make the character of Katrina be someone that I the reader felt myself mourning. The notion that had she just not gotten ill, that somehow Paul and Molly and Katrina would have gone on happily. I suppose that�s not the stuff of good novels though. The trite and happy endings usually follow up a book that totally [stinks]. I think what makes a good novel is one that makes you want to crawl into the book with a giant eraser and say �NO NO�mr. Writer man�.we will just not have this�..� as we erase with fury and will and an evil grin. But we can�t and so we�re drug through mental hell like a bloody body behind a car. We are already in motion but it�s causing one hell of a brush burn during the ride.
These characters will be in my head for a long time to come.
It�s a fast paced ride, you�ll never find yourself wondering why you chucked out cash to be this entertained. And you won�t soon forget it.
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on April 18, 2004
This book, the LA Times Book Prize Finalist, written by Tod Goldberg, is an emotional rollercoaster of a murder mystery, based on crumbling relationships, and centering on the main character's haunting past.
Paul Luden, a 32-year-old anthropologist, and his girlfriend, a 19-year-old student called Ginny, hear that Paul's ex-wife is missing, and travel to her home on a scenic lake, to try and piece together what happened to her. It becomes obvious during the novel that Molly, his ex-wife, was his only real love interest, and this has a harrowing effect of Paul when he tries to come to terms with his marriage break up, and the death of his 2-year-old daughter, Katrina. The path of Paul trying to decipher and rember his past is, sometimes, confusing, but articulately written.
At times, the way he underestimates Ginny becomes irritating, and Paul's character (namely his obsession with relating his job to life) does take away the beauty of the storyline. The way Paul is tied to his wife is heartbreaking, making this book one you just can't put down.
This is Holden Caulfield, if he were in a muder mystery.
8/10
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on May 7, 2003
A stunning example of what happens when a writer of literary fiction pulls parts of several genres into one compelling piece. Living Dead Girl is such a poetic and heartbreaking book -- equal parts mystery novel, character piece, literary novel and unreliable narration exercise -- and Goldberg was well deserving of his recent nomination for the LA Times Book Prize. Unlike his previous book, Fake Liar Cheat, which was a funny noirish romp through LA aimed at the MTV generation, Living Dead Girl is a serious look into the human condition and what happens when love dies. This is one of those books that should have been a bestseller -- maybe it will be in paperback.
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on September 28, 2015
A Venture into the mind of a tortured man. Very well written. I was a bit disappointed with the end, but overall I enjoyed the plot. Just when you thought it would end a certain way, the story twists.
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on April 16, 2002
If you were a fan of Tod Goldberg's previous novel, sit down and get ready. If you hated his last book, do the same, because this is a 180 degree departure and it's all for the good. This is literature, a story of an anthropologist who's wife disappears is the first layer of the tale, but the disintegration of the human mind under the stress of loss, both real and imagined, drives this novel of love forward. Its shocking, fluid, hallucinatory, and foremost well written. Gone is the glamour of Goldberg's fine noir novel Fake Liar Cheat, replaced by real human emotions, sadness, love, and above all else, an abiding sense that Tod Goldberg is just now hitting stride. There is no sophomore jinx here...Living Dead Girl is a wonderful and nuanced novel.
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on April 29, 2002
I was not planning on reading this entire book in one sitting but I ended up spending most of April 24th just reading and reading and reading. I could not put it down. Quite simly, Goldberg is a great writer. His writing has a real human touch and I get excited just thinking about what his next book might be like.
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on August 13, 2003
Can't stop thinking about this book. If you have children, it will make you think over and over again about what you would do in a similar situation. One of the best books of the year, I think.
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on November 22, 2008
Paul Luden is a brilliant 32-year-old anthropologist. When he hears that his ex-wife Molly is missing, he and his 19-year-old girlfriend Ginny travel to her house to look for her.

Paul is also prone to depression, as was his ex-wife. They'd split up after the death of their daughter under some suspicious circumstances, but remained connected to each other. As it becomes more and more apparent that Molly didn't just walk away, it also becomes less and less clear that Paul had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Living Dead Girl is a mystery, and a fascinating one--I didn't really know until the end what happened and whodunit.

It's also the story of obsessive love, and a very compelling tale of a man who lives too much inside his own head--so much so that he doesn't always know what's real and what's not. His thoughts and emotions are so clear, so believable and understandable, that it was a little frightening--how easy it would be to let go of reality.

Either part of the story on its own would have been a wonderful, readable tale. Combined, it's exceptional.
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on February 28, 2015
Very strange and a little confusing at times. Good plot though
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on February 15, 2013
Surprise ending.The author shows us that everyone has a little bit of insanity within him, real or unreal. It is how one uses it that counts.
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