Kathleen Hale Is a Crazy Stalker: Six Essays

Grove. Jun. 2019. 192p. ISBN 9780802129093. $23; ebk. ISBN 9780802146915. LIT
These six essays from YA novelist Hale (Nothing Bad Is Going To Happen) have previously appeared in publications such as the Guardian, Hazlitt, and Elle. The title references an incident Hale wrote about in 2014 after she was “catfished” by a Goodreads reviewer who criticized her novel. Hale went to the reviewer’s house and contacted her by phone after discovering her fake persona. The online backlash against her (#HaleNo) was swift and severe. This article is reprinted here and discusses Hale’s obsession with this woman whom she admitted to stalking. Hale writes with an open and engaging style. Many of the pieces in this collection (including the catfishing entry) have been revised and lengthened since their original release and examine an array of topics, including hunting feral pigs in Florida, the Miss America Pageant, individuals who suffer from environmental illness, and fierce maternal protectiveness that drove the author to pursue a mountain lion while pregnant. The most powerful essay describes Hale’s sexual assault while a first-year college student and the two trials in which she testified against her attacker.
VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in creative nonfiction, especially the essay genre.

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