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“How I learned to drive” by Paula Vogel

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What is it about sexual abuse stories? They are such a strange combination of feelings. One part is the seduction, the sexiness of talking about sex. But at the same time there is the alarm bells, ringing “Danger! This is wrong!” There is the pushing-away feeling of disgust at the molester, that is part of the alarm-bell feeling.

There is also the hypnotic sensation of watching a car accident happen in slow motion. This horrible thing is happening; is the bad man going to get caught? Is the poor child going to be okay? and you are not sure of either.

And while I am wondering if the kid in the story is going to be okay, I also wonder if I am a sick person to be seduced into the sexy side of the story.

It makes me feel sick to my stomach, while being slightly turned on, which makes me feel even sicker.

That is what this story did. I guess that means Vogel did a good job of making me feel the same sort of thing that Li’l Bit felt. Surely she must have felt those feelings and more.

This play was better than just a “How I recovered from my Molesting Uncle” article in a woman’s magazine. There was a stronger pull of power between the girl and her Uncle Peck.

It reminded me a whole lot of Lolita, the way Li’l Bit turned the situation to have more power. Lolita had a pull of power over Humbert too.

The influence of Li’l Bit’s family on how she dealt with issues of femininity were quite funny-a horrifying combination of frankness and misinformation, high expectations and hypocrisy.

The characters are all sympathetic, Vogel made everyone come alive.

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