I had no idea what I was in for when I began Little Stalker, by Jennifer Belle. The novel has a great premise – Rebekah Kettle is a writer who has had one book published, but is stumped for book number two. She has a movie star from childhood who she still idolizes and has seen all of his movies multiple times. Rebekah – through a series of mis-adventures – winds up helping out an eldery lady that happens to live across the way from Rebekah’s idol, Arthur Weeman. This gives her a direct view of Weeman’s kitchen and she gleefully begins watching him whenever possible.
At this point the book takes a turn and Rebekah begins writing letters to her idol, but she writes them as her 13-year-old self, Thalia. That’s all fine and good except that Thalia, and Rebekah, of course, have some issues from childhood that they need to work through. Rebekah did some things while on vacation one summer, when she was 13, and she’s never let go of these mistakes.
Unfortunately, the author then takes the story a little too far for my taste. It seems Arthur Weeman watches someone out his window, too. Except it’s not Rebekah, it’s a young girl (twelve or thirteen years old) down in the schoolyard below his window. He begins to reach out to this girl – and not in a good way.
Now, if Belle had, at this point, sent Rebekah directly to the police, I might have been at least okay with the story. But instead, Rebekah watches as some pretty graphic things happen between her idol and the young girl. Besides this, she even protects him from being found out by her paparazzi boyfriend.
This is where the author lost me. I am not okay with pedophilia nor will I pretend that this was anything else. If I hadn’t had to review this story, I would have put the book down then and there. However, I read on, hoping Belle would redeem herself. I found that not only does the story continue on its twisted path, but in my opinion Belle leaves a lot of loose ends. Rebekah finds out at one point that she has a very serious medical problem and yet she never mentions this to her friends, her boyfriend, or even her mother. She simply takes her medicine each day and seems to pretend that she’s not sick.
In the midst of my frustration with this book, I did come across a theme that I liked. Rebekah finds out that she has a half-sister. She reaches out to her sister with open arms, even though the existence of her sister means that her father had been unfaithful to her mother. Rebekah realizes that her sister didn’t have any part in that, didn’t ask to be born into that situation and as she gets used to the idea, Rebekah becomes excited about her discovery of the sister she’d longed for as a child. Rebekah’s openness to her sister and forgiveness for her father were the redeeming qualities in this book. I was glad to find this small ray of light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Overall, the book is well written and quite funny. Had it not been for certain undesirable events, I think I would have really enjoyed it. I will admit, though, that it did make me think and made me realize how careful I need to be with my own daughter to make sure she is safe from people like Arthur Weeman.