Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia

Sometimes I find myself recommending books to people saying that such and such book is like another book I have read.  In my mind, there is a connection and I love looking at "read-alikes" lists.

When I read that Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight was like Gone Girl, I knew instantly I wanted to read it. I loved Gone Girl. 

A friend of mine who had read Gone Girl and then read Reconstructing Amelia a few week ago warned me that the comparison was a stretch at best.  Although both books were suspenseful, that seems to be where the similarities end.  At least for me.  I will recommend Reconstructing Amelia, just like I recommended Gone Girl, but more because it is a fast read with a twist, than on the comparison that those books are so much alike.

Kate is a busy single mother, juggling a law career with parenting her teen-age daughter, Amelia.  Although she likes to think she and Amelia have a great relationship and there aren't secrets between them, like most teenage girls, Amelia has a life that her mother knows nothing about.  So, when Kate is called to come to Amelia's school because her daughter is in trouble, she is stunned. Amelia is a bright student, a "good girl." Even more stunning -and devastating- are the events that unfold as Kate arrives at the school. Amelia has jumped from a building, killing herself. 

Kate is unable to believe that Amelia would have killed herself. What looked like an open and shut case is examined at more closely and more questions emerge.  Secret clubs, a blog full of gossip and hurtful comments, bullying, all come to Kate's attention.  As she pores over Kate's emails, texts, and other communication her daughter had, Kate is confronted for the first time with how little she really knew her daughter. Yet, she holds firm in the belief that she knew her well enough to know with certainty that Amelia did not kill herself.

Reconstructing Amelia was entertaining. It was fast paced, and well constructed.  As Kate delved further into her daughter's life I had to remind myself that no matter what Kate unearthed, Amelia would never come back to life.  Amelia and Kate both take turns narrating chapters, so it was easy to get to know Amelia and hope for an ending happier than the inevitable jump from the roof.

I'm not a good guesser when it comes to suspense novels and who-dunnits, so I am always a bit surprised at the endings of these books. Reconstructing Amelia is no exception, although I appreciated that McCreight is able to tie up all loose strings efficiently and believably.

1 comment:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I didn't really see the similarities with Gone Girl. Glad u enjoyed this one.