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Race Traitor Paperback – August 1, 2011
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Race Traitor is the story of a teenage girl, Larissa (Lara), who seeks acceptance in the world and falls prey to the trapping of a Neo-nazi organization in the guise of purpose and adoration. Skinhead violance, political extremism, home-grown terrorism and a growing self-awareness of her own character eventually lead Larissa to a deeper understanding of how violence perpetuates violence, and she must make a decision that will change her life in ways that most of us can never understand. Her courage is driven by a complex, and underlying desire to redeem herself for her perceived lack of courage in the death of her homeland friend, Anella, who's tragic and brutal demise is the opening for this book. In the end, her courage and conviction uncover far more than she expected.
Race Traitor is a long book at 432 pages, but this fact never crossed my mind because Hategan's writing is tight and fast-paced, propelling the reader at such a speed that we literally hold on to our seats chapter after chapter.
This is a must read for anyone.
Race Traitor is a good read with a big-bang ending. Although the plot escalates to action-movie levels, I liked Race Traitor best when it followed Larissa's solitary trail. She's homeless, lonely, cold, hungry, friendless, and hunted. This part of the book rings true, probably because it's an existence to which so many can personally relate. I also liked the book's treatment of Larissa's recruitment into the Patriot Front. They all seem so friendly, welcoming, and eerily reasonable. I've heard actual defectors of terrorist groups describe how they became so involved in the first place, and it was just the same way. I'm not surprised these elements of the novel feel so authentic because Race Traitor is based on the author's life experience. I plan to Google Elisa Hategan to see if I can find interviews relating to her life, because I think they would be fascinating.
There are numerous factual errors too, as another reviewer pointed out already. This is one of those sad cases where a really good editor might have made a huge difference, and turned it into a good book. Especially with such a topical subject, I'd have loved to see that happen.