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The Girl in the Box Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Starfire (October 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553282611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553282610
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Jackie is a high school student who finds herself in a cement roomperhaps a cellarwith only a thread of light, a jar of oily water and a box of old donuts and pastries. She doesn't know why a man in a van snatched her off the streets, brought her there and hasn't returned. All she has is a typewriter and a ream of paper. And so, to keep herself going until the nightmare of captivity is over, she types stories, letters to her friends and family, notes to herself. The story of the last days before her capture are revealed, but what is never told is why she is thereand by the end, it doesn't matter. In fact, it doesn't even matter whether or not her "captivity" is real or imagined, madness or illumination. Her world is so self-contained that the voyage inward brings to Jackie the most essential truths; these she conveys to readers. In that self-absorbed state, without any external interference, Jackie is more purely herself in mind and spirit than most people are ever privileged to beand that gives her the strength to meet her fate (rescue or not) with calm and even hope. The power of Sebestyen's writing lies in the simplicity with which she delineates the intellectual and emotional processes of a girl in a box. The author has put herself in that box; this is a tightly focused writing exercise that is also a brilliant piece of suspense. Readers will come forth deeply stirred by their thought-provoking and devastating stay. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-12 Kidnapped by an unknown assailant and thrown into a cement cell with no light and no escape, Jackie McGee struggles to understand why this happened to her. What she learns is not the answer to that question but about herselfthe strengths of character that she didn't know she had and insights into why life sometimes turns out the way it does. Left with only one jar of water and very little food, Jackie hopes throughout to be rescued, but her growing self-awareness allows her finally to accept the inevitable. The story is told through Jackie's letters to her friends, a teacher, the police, her parents, and notes to herself, touch-typed in the dark on a typewriter and a ream of paper that she had with her when she was taken. The story-within-a-story is Jackie's retelling of the circumstances that led to her being in the right place to be kidnapped. This story of her long-time friendship with April and Zack, broken up when she finds out that April and Zack are in love with each other, gives a counterpoint of saneness to an otherwise unreal situation. The unreality of the premise produces a book that is not as strong as most of Sebestyen's others, as neither Jackie nor readers can see a reason for the kidnapping. This makes it difficult to develop empathy for Jackie's plight. The mood and the style are excellent and entirely appropriate for so bizarre a situation. The book leaves a sour taste in the mouth, but that is what senseless acts of terror do, and perhaps that's what Sebestyen intended. Kathy Havris, Mesa Public Library, Ariz.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The book seemed to me a little pointless.
stephanieoh@hotmail.com
I think the ending kept the book fresh in my mind because I just couldn't believe they just left us in the dark.
Samantha Bradley
A brilliant read and a book that stays with you long after you've finished.
Raven tales

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jen Vorholt on April 14, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read The Girl in the Box once in my life, and that was about 6 years ago, when I was 11. Ever since then I have searched for it off and on. I was beginning to doubt the book ever existed, but it left such an outstanding impression in my mind that I have always wanted to re-read it. The plot of Jackie McGee being mysteriously kidnapped and locked pointlessly in an underground cellar is a freaky vision. But what made the books message really strong was the descriptive way Sebestyen explained her ordeal, even when the girl's situation was grim. It was a mental blowout, how moving the book was, and the ending just drops off, leaving nothing known. In some ways I like that, some ways I don't. But I think the neutral ending is one of the main reasons I am so anxious to re-read it, to see if I can find a hidden ending somewhere this time around. The book is wonderfully written and mentally explorative, great for most ages. Read it, you won't be disappointed!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
In today's society, very few books are left unresolved, butthis one is very special in that it leaves not even a hint of aconclusion. I found it very chilling, and have been unable to put itout of my mind since. I recommend this book to every reader of any age, as it's effect is extraordinary. Don't read THE GIRL IN THE BOX expecting an enjoyable time, read it because it is a masterpiece which will deliver a huge impact.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nina G on April 14, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was one of the most incredible books I have ever read in my LIFE. This book would have been a great movie. People stop looking for excuses to hate it. You will leave with some sort of message. I read it when I was about 15 or 16 and throughout the entire book, I felt like I was in the cellar myself. I would get this incredible sense of claustrophobia when I picked the book up. If a book has that much impact on someone, it is a GOOD book. Now I am 21, and I understand so much more. Being more mature, I see how young the girl was and it has a bigger impact. When I read it, I didn't really 'grasp' the fact that she was so young. I just felt bad for her. When you can remember the plot and character of a book after all these years, it is a good book. It makes an impression on your life, and teaches you to think of realities of life. You become more aware of the things around you, and more appreciative toward the people you love.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dante on February 14, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book many years ago as a middle school student. What began as a book I grudgingly chose at the library as part of a book report assignment turned into one of the best stories I had come across so far. Even at a young age I was an avid watcher of Unsolved Mysteries and would peruse every magazine article on crimes I could get my hands on, and this book was a perfect fit for my growing curiousity on the subject. One of the many things that intrigued me was the way the story is told, purely first-person from the victim's POV, no other characters or points of view are introduced, so different from the many novels and shows who focus on the people solving the crimes and end with a succesfull solving of the case. Here, the ending is open and left for the reader to decide, as is the motive of the antagonist. No ideas can be right or wrong. My guess while reading was that it was a serial killer who used a particularly twisted and prolonged method to kill.

Today, as a criminology/criminal justice student halfway through college, I was working on research when I randomly remembered the story I read about so long ago and decided to look it up. I had forgotten the title long ago but never the story, and was happy to find it here and put on my wishlist.

I highly reccomend the book, especially to any enthusiasts of crime genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Megan McCarthy on September 16, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sometimes a typewriter is more important to survival than bread or water. Sometimes you are all you have. Sometimes people disappear from each others lives and never, ever find each other again, no matter how much they want to, and the ache of it never goes away. These are all very important things to learn.

This is one of the few books that I loved when I first read it in middle school and then loved just as much when I rediscovered it ten years later. The very structure of the story is unusual-- a sort of mystery within a mystery, unfolding from all different sides like some sort of Japanese art film. In fact, a few other reviewers mentioned that they hated the non-resolution of the ending-- another thing that gives it a sort of Japanese aesthetic. (If you hate Haruki Murakami and Akira Kurosawa, maybe you won't like this book. But, then again, maybe you will. Maybe the correlations aren't really strong enough to be predictive. Maybe I should shut up and get back to talking about the book.)

I disagree with another reviewer who said that it was unsuitable for young readers. I think that this book teaches a lot of very important lessons-- none of which were addressed in any other book that I read as a teenager. The protagonist uses her time trapped in the cellar to do a lot of introspection. Her two main concerns are 1) the simple fact of her imprisonment, and 2) the interpersonal strife she was going through before she was kidnapped. What I love is the way all her writing about the heartbreak and drama of her previous life helps her cope with her unresolved feelings about the drama, but also serve as a form of escape from the larger, bleaker reality of her current situation.
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