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Sawney Beane: The Abduction of Elspeth Cumming Paperback – November 1, 2008
Top Customer Reviews
Granted, I did sign up for this book the second I heard it was coming out, and Amazon promptly sent it to me and I devoured it in a day. Cannibals, incest, and a torch/farm implement-waving mob - you really can't go wrong with that combination. I've been wanting information about Sawney Beane and his murderous batch for many years, and this did quench a bit of that thirst. He is one of the most amazing (and I mean that in a bad way) characters in history, and he deserves more attention.
Now, I really wanted this novel to be better. I wanted richer details, better characterization, and a tangible atmosphere. When I read that the author has done children's books in the past, it ... sort of explained it. I felt that the novel was aimed at an audience with a lower (high school) educational level, and yet this is not the sort of thing I'd ever hand to high schoolers. I feel slightly cheated, and yet...and yet...the author still managed to drop me into a frightening experience that haunts me to this day. I see the cave, I smell the meat, I hear the screaming, I feel the sense of twisted community, I put my hands out in the dark not knowing what I will find....
Ah, I'm changing this to five stars. I loved this book.
The huge majority of this novel provides background information on Sawney Beane and his girlfriend, Nettie, as well as Elspeth's weirdly dysfunctional parents. Gates's point seems to be that human beings are naturally perverse and horrible, since the non-Beane characters here (including Elspeth's parents) are almost as grotesque as the Beane family members. The description of the execution of the Beanes (at the end of the novel) is actually more disturbing than anything Gates writes about the Beanes themselves.
Whether or not Sawney Beane and his family of cannibals have any basis in fact (and most historians agree that they do not), Elspeth's story is pure fiction. As fiction, however, it's not very interesting.Read more ›
Incredible, horrible, disgusting....I couldn't put the book down. What a Great read!!
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