Helpless by Barbara GowdyHelpless by Barbara Gowdy


byBarbara Gowdy

Paperback | March 25, 2008

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Celia is the single mother of an exceptionally beautiful child: nine-year-old Rachel. All too aware of the precarious balance of the life she has built for the two of them, Celia worries about her daughter’s longing for the father she has never met. When Rachel disappears one night during a blackout, Celia is stricken with guilt and terror. But her desperation is only half the story as Ron, the man who has taken Rachel, struggles with feelings that are at once tender, misguided and chillingly fixated.A suspenseful and haunting novel of obsessive love, Helpless once again showcases Barbara Gowdy’s incredible talent for bringing the reader face to face with the provocative and discomforting. At the height of the story’s tension, she leads us with a steady hand into territory that is unexpected but ultimately as transcendent as the passing of a storm.
Barbara Gowdy is an award-winning author whose five previous books,The Romantic,The White Bone,Mister Sandman,We So Seldom Look on LoveandFalling Angels, have appeared on bestseller lists throughout the world. The recipient of the Marian Engel Award in 1996, she has been a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and a repeat final...
Title:HelplessFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1 inPublished:March 25, 2008Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0002008920

ISBN - 13:9780002008921

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Wonderful story telling and superb characters
Date published: 2017-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from riveting Ron is a creepy vacuum repair man who falls in love with nine-year-old Rachel. He builds her a fairy tale bedroom in the basement of his shop and then, one hot summer night, he kidnaps her. Helpless is a riveting novel from start to finish. And it isn’t compelling just because of the situation, Ron is one of the most complex characters I’ve read in recent memory and Gowdy is a masterful story teller.
Date published: 2011-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Barbara Gowdy's HELPLESS was so good it took over my entire weekend. Gowdy takes on a subject I never thought I could read about - child abduction. A Toronto mother is raising her exceptionally beautiful daughter on her own, oblivious to the fact that her child is being stalked by Ron, an appliance repairman who has convinced himself that the nine-year-old girl is being mistreated and needs a hero. Preferably himself. Ron makes for a compelling antagonist. From afar, he loves little Rachel completely and convinces himself he'll give her a better life. His intentions are twisted but, in some moments, pure. Almost. Ron alternates between a near-fatherly conviction that stashing Rachel in his basement is for her own good, and a lust so sick it makes him shake. And the more Rachel starts to trust him, the harder it is for him to control himself. At any moment he might blow, which is why you'll need someone else around to make dinner, put the kids to bed, drive the car until you finish the book. Other points of view were just as compelling. Rachel's mother, Celia, is a mess after Rachel disappears, but I found myself thinking she handled it better than I would have. But, truthfully, if she had fallen apart I wouldn't have been able to watch her live through my very worst fear. Ron's somewhat limp girlfriend is torn between vague realization that what Ron is doing is wrong and needing to believe he's a swell guy. Again, Gowdy does a great job with her - her fear of losing Ron (what a catch) is so strong, she keeps his secret. Mostly. Perhaps what is most terrifying about this book is it makes you realize that even the most messed-up excuses for human beings have their reasons. I won't give away the resolution, but will say this. In the end, Gowdy accomplishes the impossible with her monster. She makes him the hero he always wanted to be.
Date published: 2008-06-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from "The Collector" lite Is it possible to empathize with a child molester? Thankfully, the monsters that hide within don't always take charge. A subtle, very readable suspense story about love and obsession and delusion.
Date published: 2008-05-13