March 30, 2010

Prey by Lurlene McDaniel

Prey by Lurlene McDaniel

(Author Page) (Google Books)

Paperback Edition

A teacher is supposed to impart a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. It’s a bit different with Ms. Lori Settles. All the kids are talking about how hot she is–and she is especially interested in Ryan Piccoli. When she starts giving Ryan extra attention, he’s feeling more than happy–at first. He’s used to being the class clown, but really he’s a loner. One day after school, the friendship with Lori Settles goes farther than he ever expected. She’s his teacher. She’s at least twice his age. Intimacy with a teacher is wrong, yet it feels so good in every way. Soon, Lori is making demands and Ryan begins to feel overwhelmed, but Ryan refuses to even admit anything is going on. Something immoral is going on and before too long the choices made will change lives forever.

Prey was a definite must read for me. When it finally hit paperback I scooped it up and read it pretty quickly. Considering that the book is less then 200 pages long this wasn't exactly speed reading. The main story is very intriguing to me, because I remember when Mary Kay Letourneau was arrested for sleeping with her 13 year old student. She ended up marrying him when he was of legal age, and had already birthed two of his children almost seven years before.

Lori and Ryan's relationship in this fictional account is built on a similar encounter. The reader learns from the alternating points of view between Ryan, his friend Honey, and Lori that Lori had always decided that Ryan would be "the One". Eventually Lori asks Ryan to her house to move furniture, and eventually seduces him and starts a sexual relationship.

Lurlene McDaniel makes the purpose of the book very clear from the beginning. This book is to show what kind of effects a sexual relationship between a teacher and student can have on both parties. Why a teacher would cross that line with a student? And, how most people outside of the relationship will view it. In this way McDaniel accomplishes her task, but I still felt that story was missing something.

Because the book is so short and only encompasses the immediate events leading up the affair, the affair, and the immediate aftermath both Lori and Ryan are left with lacking backgrounds and histories. Most of the story is recounted through Ryan and Honey, and very little about Lori is reveled. I would have liked to have known more about Lori. Where she came from and why she hated her parents so much. I would have liked to know more about Ryan's own history, and even more about his transition between 16 to 18 at the end of the story.

I still enjoyed the book, but I believe that it was a good idea that could have gone further.

Other reviews:
The Compulsive Reader
The Well-Read Child


Angela Craft said...

Have you read Barry Lyga's BOY TOY? It tackles the predatory teacher story as well and I thought it was fascinating and heartbreaking. The bulk of the story takes place several years after the abuse, just as the teacher is getting out of jail (early parole for good behavior, I believe), but there are also extended flashback scenes so we see the whole story - how the teacher seduced her student, the duration of the "relationship" and how it was finally revealed.

Sami said...

No I haven't read it! Once I get the chance though, I will. Thanks for the suggestion. :) Right now I'm trying to finish Wintergirls.

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