The Girl Next Door: Jack Ketchum’s Take On the Case of Sylvia Likens

TLDR: This book will make you angry

Robin Nemesszeghy
2 min readFeb 3, 2022


Photo by Colton Sturgeon on Unsplash

This book made me very angry. Probably the most angry any book has ever made me. Which means, in short, Jack Ketchum succeeded with this book. He did it justice.

The reason it made me angry? Because it’s true. It actually happened.

I’ll start by saying this book is regarded by some as controversial. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Because it contains every single trigger you could possibly imagine — okay, maybe not every single one, but very well near close to it. It’s a retelling of events that are supposed to make you feel horrified. It’s not a fun read, but it’s also not supposed to be. You’re not supposed to enjoy it in the way you’d enjoy, let’s say, Pride and Prejudice. Any decent human being would be horrified at the atrocities that take place in this book. But it’s an important book nonetheless. Because it showcases true events. It paints a picture of what humans are sometimes capable of, and it’s important to be aware of — both to prepare and hopefully prevent the possibility of this taking place ever again and to give as much justice to the poor girl Sylvia Likens as we possibly can.

This book is the hardest to read book I’ve ever read. And that’s the way it should be. That’s the point. It should be hard to read. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but the point of it should be made clear: the point is to be aware.

Have you read this book or know the story behind it? If so, I’d be curious to know your thoughts on it. Thank you for reading!

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Robin Nemesszeghy

Little Red Bird, flitting around to deliver words to the page | Creative Thinker & Writer | MBTI Specialist | Join me ⤵️