Survival and escape are paramount after you’re taken against your will. Learning to survive has a steep learning curve, and cleverly avoiding manipulation of your body and thoughts can be near impossible. But it’s not just the time you’ve been kidnapped that affects you, it’s what happens afterwards, as depicted in Hollie Overton’s Baby Doll.
Lily has been held captive for eight years. She’s been trained to behave in a particular way, dressed to suit a certain image, and treated like a pliable piece of property. Having tried to escape before and being met with severe bodily punishment, she becomes wary when her captor Rick leaves the lock undone, presenting a chance for her and her young daughter to escape. Taking the chance, Lily and Sky make a break for it and Lily comes to realize that she’s not been far from home these past three thousand or so days. In the aftermath of Lily telling the authorities who her captor is and being reunited with her twin sister, her life is has to come to a new balance of “normal” as she and her family come to terms with all that’s happened.
The premise of the story is sickly intriguing; however, the execution of it is overwrought. Everything that can go wrong will, in what seems like a way to simply perpetuate the story, relying too much upon plot instead of the characters. While this kind of story has (many) roots in reality, this particular story tried to include far too much into Lily’s return, to the detriment of the narrative–it’s stuffed with not only the trial of Rick, but also with family drama with her sister and her high school boyfriend and her mother’s alcoholism and affair with various men (but mainly the sheriff). True, these are all part of the process, but by throwing them all in there (and from their perspective nonetheless), only the surface of each aspect is touched upon with very little depth exploration, which left me more or less in an “meh” state.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.