You all know what I’m talking about. Since the explosion of Gillian Flynn on the scene, every book which has a self centred, narcissistic female character gets tagged as ‘the next Gone Girl’ or ‘for fans of Gillian Flynn’.
Without those tag lines I would have liked this book a whole lot more. Because, the thing is, no matter how much you try not to let the hype steer what you’re going to expect of a book, it doesn’t work.
Because of these presumptions, Luckiest Girl Alive felt a little like The Girl on the Train (yet another book compared to Gone Girl) which got off to a really slow start but picked up as a really good thriller with a twist in the end.
So I kind of expected that to happen in Luckiest Girl Alive too. The whole time I was just waiting for the twist. Except (sorry spoiler alert) there really isn’t one.
And that was what spoilt it for me. I liked the character of Ani well enough, if I didn’t try to compare her to Rachel or Amy. I sort of understood her, I ‘got’ her, I understood her and her reasons for the way she behaved. As someone who was subjected to bullying at school I understand her motivations for wanting to reinvent herself, to study other women and to dress to impress. I even get why she wants to be so manipulative. When you’re reduced to a powerless position, gaining power can be the only way to get control of your life and yourself.
Once you got the PR sh*t out of the way, this is actually a really good novel in its own right. It’s interesting, engaging and easy to follow. It’s sad and realistic and basically one of those stories which make you think, ‘my god, this is something which actually happens to people.’
It deals with sensitive issues like rape and abuse, bullying and what it’s like to be the odd one out even when you are trying your best to be the one who fits in.
Hats off to Jessica Knoll on a excellent novel in her own right, without the Gone Girls and Girls on the Train overshadowing.