**This review contains spoilers**
I’ve decided to make reviewing classic books a permanent feature on my blog. Why? I hear you ask. Well, for two reasons, the first being that reading and studying classic literature is a big part of my degree so I thought why not talk about the books I’m required to read on here. Secondly, because some of the greatest stories I’ve ever read just so happen to slip into the category of classic literature. I promise not to bore you all with analytic reviews. I’m still here to have fun.
I wanted to read this book after it was featured on an episode of Criminal Minds — massive thanks to the Crim Minds screenwriters.
A psychological thriller set in 1960s England, The Collector tells the story of Frederick Clegg, an introverted man with a passion for collecting butterflies. This is quite possibly one of the darkest tales of human behavior I’ve ever read. You know those brief moments in time, when you find yourself sympathizing with the bad guy? His upbringing was abysmal or he was bullied as a kid ect … I got that sympathetic feeling when I was reading this book. Several times throughout I found myself feeling sorry for Clegg. But fear not for my easily manipulated morals, Clegg inevitably ended up repulsing me and thwarting any sympathy vibes I had — cue a lengthy debate about nature versus nurture 🙂
The story starts with a brief insight into Clegg’s life, or lack of as it becomes very apparent. Clegg’s family have emigrated to Australia leaving him to his own devices. When Clegg finds himself suddenly flush after a win on the pools (betting on British football) he has the means to explore a new passion, a passion in the form of Miranda Grey.
Clegg is infatuated with unsuspecting art student Miranda, and after months of stalking her movements he concludes that Miranda will feel the same about him if they could just spend some quality time together. Instead of approaching Miranda, socially inept Clegg kidnaps her and locks her in the cellar of his secluded country house. Miranda in many ways represents the butterflies that Clegg catches and preserves.
Told from the points of view of both Clegg and Miranda, this story is a disturbing insight into the mind of a kidnapper, ignorant to any harm he’s causing as he continues his attempt to win his victims affections. And that of the helpless Miranda as she tries to escape or adjust to the confines of her new prison.
Despite reading about Miranda’s harrowing experience and being privy to Clegg’s delusional rants, for me the most disturbing part of this book comes right at the end … I want to tell you what had my bones so wrapped up in ice as this story reached its climax, but I can’t. You’ll have to read the book to find out.