Pages: 336 pages
Published: April 14, 2015
“At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.
When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.
Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.
Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the baby’s death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened to the baby than they ever could have imagined.”
Kimberley McCreight returns after her captivating and gripping debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia. After an author writes a great first novel, some believe that it is hard for authors to top their debut novel. Most authors are able to overcome this obstacle. Unfortunately, that is not the case for McCreight’s latest novel.
I am far from saying that it was bad. It just lacked that emotional and deep connection that I loved when reading Reconstructing Amelia. When reading Amelia, you can figuratively feel the pain dripping from the pages. It was very quick read for me, but lacking the personal connection that readers should feel for the characters. I feel that it had something to do with the narrative structure of this novel. The story was told in three different perspectives with Molly’s, the main character, told in 1st person narrative, mixed in with newspaper articles, audio recording transcripts, and online comments. With all these different forms of narrative, the story felt cluttered and discombobulated. I was focused on trying on following the plot that I felt there wasn’t sufficient time to understand the characters. And speaking of an unfocused plot, there were plot lines that were completely unnecessary and put a real burden on the story. Maybe the author did it on purpose, to throw us off the scent, but it just didn’t make sense.
The storyline has a lot of promise. An unidentified baby found in a hollow grave with Molly, a mother and dealing with the loss of her own baby, reporting on it and striving to discover the truth. Molly deciding to stick with this type of story and still dealing with her own loss made her an admirable character and someone to look up to. Not a lot of woman could do what she did and that made her one of the few interesting aspects of this novel. The twist towards the end was surprising. I can truly say that I did not see that coming. However, I do wish that McCreight gave a final resolution to not just Molly, but to all of the characters, especially to the other narrators as well. The wrap up just felt rushed and incomplete. I believe more could have been done with it.
Albeit a little disappointing, it was a decent, fast paced mystery novel. Hopefully the next one McCreight comes out with will be a little bit better.