“Fern and I could not forgive. And the reason we murdered these people was very simple. It was for revenge.”
Imagine two teenage girls raised by conscientious, loving parents arrested for murder – premeditated murder.
When Rachel got to high school, she realized how people change, how different they can be, and how mean they can treat others. She would rather be alone, writing poetry than go to parties where girls latch on to guys they thing are hot.
And because she’s not like them, she gets bullied – “abused” by people deemed perfect, beautiful, and rich by society. And the balm to her raging soul, she discovers, is heavy metal.
Only with heavy, loud, music with names like Goreceps and Surgical Carnage does Rachel finds solace, comfort, and friendship. Fern is just like her – not into pom-poms or chess games, but metal rock, black lipstick, and Marie-Lise (female rock star).
The lives of rock stars constantly on the road and trying to make music and a name for themselves is weaved into the story seamlessly and it’s an interesting take on the rock stars and the path they’ve chosen. They’re not all wild and crazy. It’s also not so easy for them, and many of them are serious about their music.
Rachel doesn’t do drugs, and while Fern smokes, they don’t steal or kill – until the day their lives are changed by a sexual assault from people they admired most. That incident haunts and consumes them till the blood and despair they sing about roars to life in a violent end.
The story is thrilling and disturbing, but it’s definitely not something I would recommend to younger readers.
But the story is truthful. It’s heart-wrenching and fulfilling, at the same time. Who won’t be able to connect with Rachel, an outcast who strives to express herself, to find and claim something as her own, to meet decent guys who will treat her like she’s human, to see justice met?
Rachel isn’t whiny. In fact, she’s very tough and aggressive, but oh so violent. One thing I wished was a deeper look into why she acts this way. It is clear, though, that she has so much pent-up anger. And why I understand why she sometimes feels the need to rip off eyes from sockets, the novel doesn’t delve deeper into her psyche.
Granted, it’s not meant to be totally understood. Rachel, at the beginning of the story, tells us that the people around her can’t understand why she and Fern did it. Rachel tells them their reason, but still, no one can seem to wrap their minds around it.
Two seemingly ordinary girls with no history of violence murdered a group of people in front of a crowd.
It’s a truly haunting picture, and the arts play a critical role. Don’t you listen to music when you’re down and angry? I know I do, and I will forever pine after MCR and their music.
Rachel loves art and she is consistently drawn to the painting of Judith and her maid decapitating Holofernes, the Biblical general who came to conquer the land. Judith is known as one of the most powerful and empowering women in the Bible stories and Rachel often compares herself to Judith.
But I think, in the end, Rachel might have been more Judith’s maid and friend than Judith herself. Fern had the hate and passion in her heart. During the final act of the story, Fern knew she had to do it because it had consumed her for so long.
That one incident had ended her life and started her on the path of hate and vengeance. The fact that these are just fifteen-year-old teens makes the story more tragic. It shouldn’t have happened to them, or to any woman in the world.
This story is about loss, friendship, innocence, awakening, vengeance, and passion. Read it.
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